On May 13, 1968, a citizen informed the LAPD’s University Division of a robbery in progress at a dress shop on Western Avenue.

Officer Oscar Joel Bryant, working a one-person unit, responded to the radio call. The first officer to respond to the scene, Officer Bryant requested back-up and single-handedly confronted three suspects. Without warning, one of the suspects drew a concealed weapon and fired upon Officer Bryant. Although mortally wounded, Officer Bryant continued to exchange gunfire and prevented the escape of the three suspects who were later apprehended by responding officers.

The Los Angeles Police Department recognizes Bryant’s heroic efforts and memorializes the fallen soldier as the first African American officer killed in the line of duty.*

In the spirit of honoring Officer Bryant's ultimate sacrifice, a group of African American officers took a stance against racism and discrimination in September of 1968. These brave officers organized a meeting of all African American officers to discuss the challenges they collectively faced and to identify solutions.

This historic meeting resulted in the establishment of the Oscar Joel Bryant Foundation.

* NOTE: In 1998, sources revealed that Charles P. Williams was in fact the first Black officer killed in the line of duty having lost his life on January 13, 1923. Williams remained in the grave for 75 years without a headstone.