Shooting of Eula Love

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Shooting of Eula Love
DateJanuary 3, 1979
LocationSouth Los Angeles
ParticipantsLloyd O’Callaghan
Edward Hopson
Eula Mae Love

Eula Mae Love (commonly referred to as Eula Love) was a 39-year-old African-American mother and widow who was shot and killed on January 3, 1979, by officers of the Los Angeles Police Department.[1] Although Love's death sparked outcry in South Los Angeles, the Los Angeles County District Attorney exonerated both of the police officers involved in the shooting on April 17, 1979.[2]


Six months before the incident, Love's husband died of sickle cell anemia, leaving Love financially strapped and solely responsible for the care of their three young daughters.[2] On the day of the shooting, Love had an altercation with a service person from the Southern California Gas company sent to her house to collect an overdue utility bill.[3] After going to the store to cash a check to pay the bill, Love returned home to find additional personnel from the gas company, who had called the police on her. Further upset by the new utility workers, Love went into her house and came out with a knife. When police arrived, Love threatened the officers with a boning knife.[2][3]

In response, the two officers Edward M. Hopson and Lloyd W. O'Callaghan fired twelve shots into Love at close range, killing her instantly.[4][5] The officers alleged that they shot her in self-defense.[6]


The killing generated widespread coverage in the local news media and sparked public outrage, which led the Los Angeles Police Commission to conduct its own investigation of the shooting.[7] 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.[8] The report led to "significant reforms in the Department's procedures on use of force."[7]

The academic journal Crime and Social Justice later reprinted the Police Commission's report on the circumstances of the shooting. Journal editors expressed the opinion that "her killing is a crime against humanity."[9] Journalist Joe Domanick (author of two books on the department) described Love's shooting as emblematic of the "bad old days" of the Los Angeles Police Department.[6]

Love's death has been cited as the event that put the phrase "officer-involved shooting" into widespread use by mainstream media outlets.[10]

This incident also inspired the 1980 L.A. Rebellion feature film Gidget Meets Hondo by Bernard Nicolas.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ogbar, Jeffrey O. G. (1 January 1999). "Slouching toward Bork: The Culture Wars and Self-Criticism in Hip-Hop Music". Journal of Black Studies. 30 (2): 164–183. doi:10.1177/002193479903000202. JSTOR 2645846. S2CID 145313509.
  2. ^ a b c Feder-Haugabook, Ayala (2017-10-21). "Eula Mae Love (1939-1979) •". Retrieved 2021-04-08.
  3. ^ a b King, Jamilah. "Maxine Waters' battle against powerful white men began when Eula Love was murdered in 1979". Mic. Retrieved 2021-04-08.
  4. ^ "Hopson v. City of Los Angeles (1983)". Justia Law. Justia. Retrieved 18 June 2016.
  5. ^ Shaw, David (May 26, 1992). "Media Failed to Examine Alleged LAPD Abuses". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 19 June 2016.
  6. ^ a b Domanick, Joe (1999-06-06). "A Shooting Reminiscent of the LAPD's Worst Days". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2016-06-16.
  7. ^ a b "On January 3, 1979, two officers fatally shot Eula Love, an African-American woman, in a confrontation that received widespread publicity." Christopher, Warren (1991). Report of the Independent Commission on the Los Angeles Police Department. DIANE Publishing. p. 194. ISBN 978-0-7881-4913-9.
  8. ^ Scott, Allen John (1998). The City: Los Angeles and Urban Theory at the End of the Twentieth Century. University of California Press. p. 355. ISBN 978-0-520-21313-5.
  9. ^ Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners (1980). "Concerning the Shooting of Eula Love". Crime and Social Justice (14): 2–9. ISSN 0094-7571. JSTOR 29766096.
  10. ^ ""Officer-Involved" Obfuscation". Retrieved 2021-04-08.
  11. ^ ""LA Rebellion Gidget Meets Hondo"". Retrieved 2022-03-26.

External links[edit]