Nipsey Hussle’s brother Blacc Sam said he wasn’t aware of the LAPD’s secret operation until recently.
Nipsey Hussle and his brother brought a new sense of pride to their community through their business ventures. The Marathon Clothing store became a staple in the Crenshaw and Slauson neighborhood of South Central Los Angeles. Unfortunately, even as the familial duo’s business ventures grew, including purchasing the plaza that was home to their clothing store, police presence and harassment increased as part of the LAPD’s Operation Laser (Los Angeles Strategic Extraction and Restoration) secret program.
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Per The Guardian’s Today In Focus podcast, the LAPD put in an extensive amount of resources to monitor Nipsey Hussle and his businesses. The program attempted to target and profile “chronic offenders” through predictive policing technology. Michael Safi, a reporter for the Guardian, said that it was the 77th Division of the LAPD that started to target Nipsey and his associates. “Nipsey and his family and friends, all had frequent contact with LAPD. LAPD had a lot of interest in Nipsey and his business efforts from the very start,” Safi said. “His brother Sam told me how they used to sell stuff on the street corner. How LAPD would come over and hassle them.”
Blacc Sam explained how he and Nipsey came up from selling clothes, socks, t-shirts, and more across the street from a Louisiana Fried Chicken. The police would frequently shut them down, arrest them, and confiscate thousands of dollars worth of merchandise from them. When they tried to explain that thing to be legitimate, Blacc Sam said the police told them they weren’t until they started paying taxes and rent like other businesses.
Eventually, Blacc Sam and Nipsey launched the Marathon Clothing Store, which received praise from councilmen and other local politicians. However, Sam said the police were still trying to shut them down no matter what. Even off-duty law enforcement officials from other states that would go to the Marathon Stores as fans of Nip would allegedly get questioned by police officers patrolling the area.
Police believed that the area itself attracted crimes and with the use of predictive policing technology through A.I., they’d be able to “predict” these crimes and identify suspects. However, the property itself never attracted any major crimes. Ultimately, these actions led to higher policing and increased profiling among members of the community.
Prior to his passing, Nipsey Hussle revealed that he purchased the plaza where the Marathon Clothing Store stands with plans to renovate the property. The acquisition came as police, specifically those working on Operation Laser, put pressure on the landlords to evict Nipsey Hussle and his brother. The economic benefits from the success of Nipsey’s business ventures prompted the landlords to sell the rapper and his business partners the property.