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Subject: ARCHIVE: January 3, 1979 ~It was 40 years ago today, Eula May Love, African-American mother, a woman who suffered from mental illness, was shot and killed by Los Angeles Police Department, at 39 years old. Love case was beginning in an era of many questionable LAPD killings that garnered public protest, in the latter 20th century. ...

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Date Posted: Thursday, January 03, 03:58:12pm

Eula May Love
(8 August 8, 1939 - January 3, 1979)

Sometimes falsely called Eulia Mae Love, was an African-American mother who was shot and killed by Los Angeles Police Department Officers Edward M. Hopson and Lloyd W. O'Callaghan on January 3, 1979. They were at her home in response to a disputed gas bill where she threatened and attacked a Postal carrier with a knife for delivering a bill to her that she could not afford to pay (although it was also reported that she attacked a gas man for trying to collect on the overdue bill or turn off her gas). They allegedly shot her in self-defense as she was wielding a knife and was ready to throw it at them.

The killing generated widespread publicity, and sparked public outrage, which led the Police Commission to conduct its own investigation of the shooting. Black Angelenos' confidence in the LAPD declined precipitously in 1979 due in part to this case, according to Allen John Scott's book The City: Los Angeles and Urban Theory at the End of the Twentieth Century. The report led to "significant reforms in the Department's procedures on use of force."

The academic journal Crime and Social Justice reprinted the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners' report on the circumstances of the shooting. The journal editors expressed the opinion that "her killing is a crime against humanity." Journalist Joe Domanick (author of two books on the department) describes Love's shooting as emblematic of the "bad old days" of the Los Angeles Police Department.

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