LOS ANGELES (AP) — Snoop Dogg and The Game led a peaceful march Friday to Los Angeles Police Department headquarters, where they met with the mayor and police chief and urged improved relations between authorities and minority communities.
The rappers organized the demonstration hours after five police officers were shot to death in Dallas. In a posting on his Instagram account announcing the march, The Game said women and children should stay home and men of color should march to make law enforcement "aware that from today forward, we will be UNIFIED as minorities & we will no longer allow them to hunt us or be hunted by us !!!"
The pair arrived with about 100 marchers at headquarters, where they were surprised to learn a class of 37 new police recruits was graduating that day. Snoop shook hands with Deputy Chief Beatrice Girmala and others, thanking them for inviting him and The Game to attend a post-graduation news conference. He also wished the new recruits good luck.
"We are here to show love and support to the police force in Los Angeles and get some understanding and some communication, and we feel like this is a great start," Snoop said, with Police Chief Charlie Beck and Mayor Eric Garcetti at his side.
"We didn't know they were gonna be graduating students but this is even better because now that they are about to hit the streets they know there is some sort of dialogue going on and they don't have to be fearful and they can do their jobs and know that when you stop somebody you are a conversation away from sending them home or taking them to jail, but the conversation is key."
The Game said he believes Los Angeles can set an example for the rest of the country by demonstrating that police and minority communities can work together to keep all citizens safe.
"That's not to knock anybody else's strive for peace or anything or any other body of law enforcement or any politician worldwide," he said. "I'm just saying that this is a strong city that I am from, that we embody as all races and different ranks from the gangs in the streets to basketball coaches to teachers, to law enforcement to mayors, to politicians, to cameramans to the list goes on. I know that together that we can unify Los Angeles."
At the graduation ceremony, Beck exhorted the new officers to not let what happened in Dallas interfere with their mandate to uphold the law fairly for all.
"This is not about black lives. This is not about brown lives. This is not about blue lives. This is about America," said an emotional Beck, speaking slowly and deliberately, his badge covered with a strip of black mourning tape. "This is about a country based on a promise that does not recognize a difference in the shades of humanity. You are the symbol of that promise."
He told the graduates 207 Los Angeles police officers have died in the line of duty, including 60 since he joined the force 40 years ago. And he reminded them that after they report for their first day of work on Sunday they will sometimes encounter people experiencing the worst days of their lives.
"Given their circumstances you might act in a similar fashion," he said. "Have empathy. Look into people's hearts. ... Help them."
AP reporters John Rogers and John Antczak contributed to this report.