The LASER (Los Angeles Strategic Extraction and Restoration) program, as discussed in a recent episode of the Guardian’s Today in Focus podcast, was designed to utilize what’s described as “predictive policing technology.” Notably, the “secretive’ program—which launched in 2011—ended back in 2019 amid widespread criticism.
Law professor Andrew Ferguson told CBS News back in 2020 that LASER, essentially, was built on “the metaphor that they were going to, like laser surgery, remove the tumors, the bad actors from the community.” The idea itself, Ferguson pointed out, was “offensive.”
Ultimately included as part of the LASER targeting, per a new report, was Nipsey’s Marathon Clothing store Slauson Avenue in Los Angeles.
Speaking with the Guardian, Nipsey’s brother Samiel Asghedom said police’s goal was to “shut it down” even though “positive things” were happening at the shop. “The agenda was, ‘Whatever they’re doing over there, crush it. Stop it,’” Asghedom said.
The harassment is also said to have included consumers, including by way of stopping and questioning off-duty officers who were fans of the Victory Lap artist’s music and had simply decided to visit the shop. Police interest in the location, per Sam, also deterred some fans from visiting.
As for LASER, the program was billed as being a surgery-like approach to policing that relied on data, with an LAPD spokesperson later conceding that such data was in need of review. “We discontinued LASER because we went to reassess the data, a rep told the Los Angeles Times back in 2019. “It was inconsistent. We’re pulling back.”