A black Los Angeles teenager called Gizmo was a top student, star athlete, and police Explorer at 16. By 21, he was a Crip bent on avenging a murder. The Los Angeles Times tells the story about how Gizmo went from promise to catastrophe in a few years. The tale illustrates the complicated relationship between African Americans and the Los Angeles Police Department in the city’s most violent neighborhoods.
Police in South L.A. mix it up with the same people all the time, mostly young black men. They alternate between friendly persuasion and ruthless confrontation, tactics they used to try to save Gizmo. His family says they only made things worse. Both sides describe a relationship that was tense, emotional and strangely intimate.