“This Was My Friend”- Communities Respond to LAPD Murder of “Brother Africa”
BLACK IMMIGRANT AND AFRICAN AMERICAN LEADERS MOURN THE LOSS OF “BROTHER AFRICA”
On Sunday March 1, Charley “Brother Africa” Leundeu Keunang, a 43 year old Cameroonian immigrant living on Skid Row was killed by Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officers. Members of Black Immigration Network in Los Angeles are actively involved in organizing the community to seek justice in his case. Read the Black Alliance for Just Immigration statement regarding this horrible tragedy. (http://www.blackalliance.org/brotherafrica/) Follow #CantKillAfrica on social media for updates on ongoing actions.
Brother Africa’s death brings into focus the convergence of state violence in the lives of Black people, and particularly the implications for Black immigrants. Ota Omoruyi, a Nigerian immigrant and friend of Keunang told Complex: “Why did this happen? It’s a mystery to me. I didn’t know [his life] was going to end like this—he didn’t know it was going to end like this,” says Ota Omoruyi, a Skid Row resident from Nigeria. He’s known Africa for about six months, and calls him “Cameroon,” Africa’s home country. He wrote this nickname on a piece of cardboard that’s now the centerpiece of the memorial that stands where his friend once lived.
“I’ve never known him to be violent, I’ve never known him to be confrontational,” he says. “I’ve known him to be intellectual, and to talk with purpose. I cannot say what went on in his mind when the police came. But I know he was depressed for about a week, thinking about sending money home, to his people, and about getting out of homelessness.”
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