Sam Levin Profile picture
27 Apr, 10 tweets, 3 min read
There are many police killings with similarities to the George Floyd murder that receive almost no attention. Last year, LAPD killed Daniel Rivera, with officers holding him largely face down on the ground for roughly 7 minutes. He was unarmed and in distress. (thread)
On 8/14/20, LAPD was responding to reports of an alleged burglary attempt + came upon Daniel, 37, who was standing near a ravine in Arleta. He hopped a fence into the wash + may have fallen / was lying on the ground, largely not moving, as police approached, body cam video shows
Even though he was unarmed and not moving, and had his hands behind his head, one officer kneeled on his back, two others handcuffed him, one shoved his face into the ground, and another shocked him with a Taser four times, causing his body to convulse.
He appeared to call for help and scream in pain, but officers kept him largely face down for about seven minutes until he passed out and appeared to stop breathing. (TW: tweets below include screenshots from video).
The cops seemed to make jokes + dismissive remarks about his condition. One said Daniel was acting “like a fish out of water.” Another said his condition was “worse than Covid,” and one officer complained that he “got me all muddy and shit.” Daniel was gasping for air, near death
“They used so much force on someone who wasn’t even fighting back and did not have a weapon,” Elisabeth Barragan, the mother of Daniel’s son, told me.
Daniel died on the scene. The coroner ruled it a homicide, saying he suffered cardiac arrest after being restrained by police and that the Tasing “electromuscular disruption” was a factor.
“This shouldn’t have happened. Not even animals deserve this treatment,” -Daniel’s mom, Silvia Imelda Rivera. She couldn’t watch the video, but said she wants him to be remembered as joyful: “He was always uplifting to others, always happy, regardless of any obstacle in his life"
The family said they didn’t learn of his death for days, and then struggled to get basic info about what occurred. Initially, police didn't make clear that they'd even used force or were trying to arrest him, Elisabeth said. Later they learned about the Taser + then saw the video
The family is now suing LAPD. LAPD declined to comment on the case. You can read more about his case in my recent piece on how Tasers have increased police brutality, and sometimes have deadly consequences:

theguardian.com/us-news/2021/a…

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More from @SamTLevin

30 Mar
NEW: I interviewed trans kids across the US about the Republican bills targeting their rights. Many have faced these attacks for years and are now seeing the bills become law.

Here are some of their stories (thread) ⬇️

theguardian.com/us-news/2021/m…
Wyatt, 14, South Dakota, is banned from using the boys bathroom. He has to walk across the school to get to the single-stall staff restroom: "This is a basic human need ... I’ve asked my guy friends if they’d be uncomfortable if I was in the boys’ restroom. They wouldn’t."
Wyatt has faced anti-trans bills since he was 11: "As a 14-year-old, I shouldn’t have to worry about my rights being taken away. I should not have to go out of my way to make other people happy. I’m not a problem to society. I just hope by the time I’m 18, things are better."
Read 15 tweets
28 Jan
NEWS: Bounchan Keola, the incarcerated firefighter who California sent to ICE for deportation, is free after 22 years.

He was released from ICE custody yesterday and is now reuniting with his family for the first time in decades: Image
When Boun was working as an incarcerated firefighter last fall, he suffered a near-death injury.

He had two weeks left of his sentence at the time, but California transferred him to ICE instead of releasing him to his family. My story from November:

theguardian.com/us-news/2020/n…
Boun, 39, has been incarcerated since age 16. If California had not reported him to ICE, he would've gone home last year to his family and received medical treatment for his firefighting injuries.

Instead, he's been stuck in ICE jail, threatened with deportation to Laos.
Read 12 tweets
12 Jan
I spent time inside a South LA hospital with the highest rate of Covid patients in the region – the epicenter of the epicenter of America's out-of-control pandemic.

Here's what I saw + heard from frontline staff battling the catastrophic surge. THREAD:

theguardian.com/us-news/2021/j…
Entire families are hospitalized – husbands and wives, twin brothers in their 20s, parents and their children. Anahiz Correa, ICU nurse manager, recounted a mother and son who ended up dying in the same ICU room weeks apart. "The patients are much sicker and it’s not clear why.”
Martin Luther King Jr Community Hospital has put beds in an old gift shop, which has a small sign on the door indicating “patient care in progress.” The chapel around the corner is filled with gurneys. Patients are treated in the waiting room + doubled up in spaces meant for one.
Read 23 tweets
17 Dec 20
A short thread on the California prison system's Covid catastrophe + vaccine access:

Advocates + experts are arguing that CDCR must urgently make vaccines available to incarcerated people, mandate vaccines for guards, AND do mass releases of elderly/vulnerable. Here's why ⬇️
CDCR has a long history of severe medical neglect + abuse, including experimenting on incarcerated people. Some will likely be reluctant or scared to take a vaccine. This mistrust is compounded by the fact that CDCR has spread Covid across the system, infecting 31,000+ people.
Incarcerated people in CA have witnessed CDCR’s botched Covid response, which has allowed guards to bring Covid to every single prison, leading to mass and worsening outbreaks and 104 deaths. So why would people inside trust a vaccine? says @jamesking0314:
Read 11 tweets
13 Dec 20
NEW: California is on track to allow mass evictions to begin during the worst phase of the pandemic so far. Millions are at risk, and many more will die of Covid if lawmakers don't pass new tenant protections.

A short thread on what's at stake ⬇️

theguardian.com/us-news/2020/d…
-More than 2 million households said they couldn't pay rent in November, and that # will increase with new shutdowns.

-Tenants owe an estimated $1.7 billion in unpaid rent, and California law currently says they are on the hook for all of it, which will be impossible for many.
Evictions mean more people will die. When other states lifted eviction moratoriums, it led to 433,700 additional Covid cases + 10,700 more fatalities, according to @LeifScience.

Given the scale of the crisis in CA, the fatal consequences will be catastrophic here.
Read 11 tweets
15 Oct 20
NEW: I interviewed Jackie Lacey + George Gascón about their tight race for LA district attorney, arguably the most important criminal justice election in the US. There are huge differences in their beliefs on incarceration + safety.

Thread on my chats ⬇️

theguardian.com/us-news/2020/o…
LA has the largest jail system in the world + extremely high prison rates. I asked Lacey if the region jails too many people.

She said no, and warned that if she were a less punitive DA, LA would “deteriorate” with the “criminal community” + “predators” flocking to the region.
Lacey has fought for the right to continue prosecuting children under the age of 12, and has continued to try youth as adults. She said this was warranted for some crimes: "You can say, 'Oh you’re incarcerating children!' but that’s not the act of a child or the mind of a child."
Read 19 tweets

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