Criticism Over Police Fatal Shootings Continues as Calls for a Police Oversight Committee Increase

BY RAUL HERNANDEZ

American Justice Notebook Reporter

OXNARD, CALIFORNIA — The  jaywalking case – the People vs. Francisco Romero – has lingered in the Ventura County courts for a year.

The court hearings have resulted in a lot of legal haggling, a slew of judges making rulings on the matter and several prosecutors assigned to handle the legal proceedings.

Romero said he expects the case to end up at the California Supreme Court if he is found guilty of jaywalking.

The case is more than just someone getting a ticket for crossing  the street unlawfully and without regard for approaching traffic. It has become symptomatic of the growing animosity, finger pointing, accusations and counter accusations between the Oxnard Police Departmentand members of Todo Poder al Pueblo Collective surrounding allegations of police brutality, abuse and fatal shootings. Read More…

Oxnard Police Being Investigated for Tattoos “Earned” by Officers Involved in Shootings

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BY RAUL HERNANDEZ, American Justice Notebook Reporter

OXNARD, CALIFORNIA — The U.S. Justice Department is  reviewing an ongoing internal  investigation by the Oxnard Police Department surrounding allegations that the city’s police officers  put so-called shooting tattoos on their left shoulders after they were involved in shootings with a suspects, according to a spokesman for the department in Los Angeles.

“I can tell you that we are reviewing the matter. I will not comment on any specific allegations or any specific questions that you have posed. Also, I cannot give you a timetable as to how long our review will take,” stated Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the Justice Department in an email sent Tuesday.

In an interview Tuesday, Police Chief Jeri Williams said the investigation is ongoing,  and she didn’t know when it would conclude.

“I don’t have a time frame right now but it is an ongoing investigation,” said Williams.

American Justice also learned that the city of Oxnard has hired a San Francisco law firm to conduct an independent investigation surrounding the shooting-tattoo allegations.

A former Oxnard police officer told American Justice Notebook  said when gun smoke coming out of the barrel is added to the shooting tattoo,  this indicats that the shooting was fatal.

As part of a settlement agreement involving the fatal shooting of  a 21-year-old jogger in October 2012, the city also held a  press conference Tuesday.

Read More…

JOINT STATEMENT: Ayotzinapa, your pain is our pain!

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As a migrant community, a diaspora of those populations who experienced expulsion and refugee status as a result of imposed free trade agreements, we are enraged by the extreme violence and disrespect for the human life that is being used by the state and other spheres of power, which seeks to conceal the true purpose of these attacks, which are directed at the very idea of the rural school model, which have created a vibrant hotbed of social struggle.

(Español, Haga clic aquí)

To all Mexicans residing in Chicago
To all the united collectives in the United States,
To all those who stand in solidarity with the rural students of Ayotzinapa
To all human rights and social advocacy organizations,
To all free & independent media outlets,


On September 26, 2014, in at least four related violent incidents in the vicinity of the city of Iguala in the Mexican state of Guerrero, 6 people lost their lives. Among these were three students from the Rural Normal Raúl Isidro Burgos, Ayotzinapa. Also, 20 were injured (one of whom, a student, is in a vegetative state), and 55 were abducted and their whereabouts are unknown.
It should be noted that student teachers experienced similar events on December 12, 2011 when, following a failed operation to evict the “Autopista del Sol” protest at the normal school, three people lost their lives – including two students, Jorge Alexis Herrera Pino and Gabriel Echeverría de Jesús, who were extra-judicially executed. In the same incident, three students were shot and seriously injured, at least 24 students were arbitrarily detained, 1 student faced torture, and 7 more students were subject to severe inhumane treatment. These crimes remain unpunished, yet the officers accused were acquitted last year.

 

 

Read More…

PRONUNCIAMIENTO COLECTIVO: Ayotzinapa, Tu dolor es nuestro dolor!

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Como comunidad migrante,diáspora de esas poblaciones, expulsados desde la imposición de tratados comerciales, vemos con rabia, el que con extrema violencia y falta de respeto por la vida,el Estado y sus esferas de poder, pretendan minimizar y desviar el origen de la verdadera intención de atacar el módelo de escuela rural, que ha sido semillero de activistas sociales.

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A los mexicanos en Chicago
A los colectivos hermanados en EU,
A las personas solidarias que se manifiesten por los estudiantes rurales de Ayotzinapa
A las organizaciones defensoras de derechos humanos, nacionales e internacionales
A los Medios Libres de comunicación.

El pasado 26 de septiembre de 2014, en al menos cuatro eventos violentos relacionados entre sí, en las inmediaciones de la ciudad de Iguala en el estado Mexicano de Guerrero, perdieron la vida 6 personas, entre éstas tres estudiantes de la normal Rural Raúl Isidro Burgos, de Ayotzinapa, 20 más resultaron heridas, uno de ellos, un estudiante que se encuentra en estado vegetativo, y 55 se mantiene sin conocerse su paradero.
Cabe resaltar que los estudiantes normalistas sufrieron hechos similares el 12 de diciembre de 2011[1], en el que, consecuencia de un operativo fallido de desalojo en la “Autopista del Sol” de una protesta de los normalistas, perdieron la vida tres personas, entre ellos, dos estudiantes Jorge Alexis Herrera Pino y Gabriel Echeverría de Jesús quienes fueron extrajudicialmente ejecutados; tres estudiantes más fueron heridos de bala gravemente y se documentaron al menos, 24 casos de detenciones arbitrarias, 1 caso de tortura y otros 7 más de tratos graves e inhumanos. Estos hechos permanecen en la impunidad y los únicos policías que se encontraban procesados fueron exonerados el año pasado.

VC STAR – City designates Limon death anniversary “Anti-Violence Day,” Todo Poder al Pueblo & Oxnard Police hold opposing press conferences

ROB VARELA/THE STAR Daniela Garcia, a member of the Todo Poder al Pueblo Collective, reads a statement for the group outside the Oxnard police station after a news conference Tuesday concerning Alfonso Limon, an innocent bystander shot by officers.
ROB VARELA for VC STAR

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OXNARD, Calif. – Oxnard officials said Tuesday they will designate a Community Safety and Anti-Violence Day next week in honor of a bystander killed by police in 2012, but other terms of a lawsuit settlement with the man’s family have not yet been met.

Alfonso Limon, 21, was shot and killed by Oxnard police on Oct. 13, 2012, when authorities say officers mistook him for a suspect involved in a shootout with police after a traffic stop.

Officials held a news conference Tuesday — six days before the second anniversary of Limon’s death — to discuss terms of a settlement reached with Limon’s family. His family members, also at Tuesday’s conference, filed a wrongful-death suit after the shooting.

In June, the city announced it had agreed to pay $6.7 million to settle the lawsuit and explore requiring officers to carry video cameras to record incidents. The family also asked the city to dedicate Oct. 13 as a day of anti-violence.

Not much new was announced at Tuesday’s conference. Oxnard Police Chief Jeri Williams and City Manager Greg Nyhoff said they support using the body cameras in the police department, but more study was needed.

Officials are continuing to look at different options, and their findings are expected to go to the Oxnard City Council in the next few months, Williams said. She said she hopes to be using the cameras within a year.

“I see it as a tool to strengthen accountability, to capture critical information during incidents and also to protect our community and our officers,” Williams said.

A memorial in Limon’s honor, expected to be installed in La Colonia, also has been delayed.

City officials are working with Limon’s family on the design, Williams said Tuesday.

Williams said that although nothing can be done to bring Limon back, the city and family are working on ways to keep his memory alive.

She continued to stand by her officers, saying they, too, were affected by Limon’s death.

“They were faced by a terrible set of circumstances and they were forced to make a terrible decision,” Williams said. “The Oxnard Police Department is committed to learning from this tragedy.”

She said the administration will incorporate what it has learned from the Limon incident into reality-based training in the future.

Williams said police brutality became part of the national conversation again after an officer in Ferguson, Missouri, shot and killed an unarmed black man. Williams said her administration holds officers accountable for their actions, and the department is transparent, while still keeping the community safe.

“We aren’t Ferguson, Missouri, we are the Oxnard Police Department,” she said Tuesday.

Police officers in Ferguson began wearing body cameras only three weeks after the Aug. 9 shooting of Michael Brown. Two private companies donated those cameras.

In July, the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office announced that the nine officers involved in the Oxnard shooting will not be held criminally responsible, saying “although extraordinarily tragic, (the death) was legally justified and not a criminal act.”

Williams called for an independent agency — the Office of Independent Review — to also investigate the deaths of Limon and Robert Ramirez, who died of asphyxia while being restrained by police. Both that probe and Oxnard’s internal review are still pending.

After Tuesday’s news conference, Limon’s sister, Rebecca Limon, said a lot more could have been done by the Oxnard Police Department to improve training and prevent future officer-involved shootings.

“What happened to all of that training that night?” she asked. “I don’t think that anything is going to give us peace of mind.”

She is, however, hopeful that body cameras will prove effective in holding police officers accountable for their actions.

Todo Poder al Pueblo Collective, a local group that has rallied against police brutality, held its own news conference outside the police department Tuesday.

Daniela Garcia read a statement from the group saying, “The department’s management continues to avoid taking responsibility for its negligence and the pattern of practice that ultimately claimed Alfonso Limon’s life.”

She said Oxnard has been “an industry leader in the ugly practice of harassing and abusing our working-class residents and communities of color.”

The group invited the public to participate in a march Sunday evening to commemorate the anniversary of Limon’s death, as well as other men killed by police. The march will start at Camino Del Sol Park in La Colonia at 5 p.m.

SOURCE: http://www.vcstar.com/news/local-news/oxnard/monday-to-be-inaugural-antiviolence-day-in-oxnard-in-honor-of-bystander-killed-by-police_21591039

Todo Poder al Pueblo Rejects Statement by Oxnard Police, Calls for 10/12/14 March to Commemorate Limon, Demand Community Control

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(OXNARD, CA 10/7/14) Today’s statement by the Oxnard Police Department is further proof that 2 years after 2012’s officer-committed killings, the department’s management continues to avoid taking responsibility for its negligence and the pattern of practice that ultimately claimed Alfonso Limon’s life.
Instead of practicing accountability and releasing officers with blood on their hands from duty, the Oxnard Police Department has chosen to retain them. Officer Pedro Rodriguez, who played a role on the night Alfonso Limon was killed, was even given the title of Resource Officer at Pacifica High School. Meanwhile, allegations are being investigated of a clique of officers, including Commanders, who wear tattoos displaying pride in firing on residents.  Officers who kill or treat our community unjustly don’t belong in our streets or in our schools – they belong in a jail cell.

While Chief Jeri Williams has spoken of a “healing process through open and effective dialogue,” residents have instead witnessed public relations and promotional hype from the OPD. Rather than taking ownership of the crisis in police-community relations and addressing the community’s concerns through structural changes and transparency, the Chief has gone on record rejecting community oversight mechanisms like a civilian review board and has blamed members of the community for raising the issue at city council meetings. 

The Chief has opened an invitation to collaborate with the Oxnard Police Department, but those who demand justice have faced repression. This was the case last October, when 95 officers were mobilized in a Special Enforcement Unit operation targeting a march led by the Limon family and members of the community. The only result of this operation was that our fellow organizer, Francisco “Chavo” Romero, was singled out and given 5 jaywalking tickets totaling $1000. The charges are still being fought and a motion to dismiss will be filed this Thursday, October 9, at 8:30am at Department 13 of the Ventura County Courthouse.

Reconciliation cannot take place without healing. Healing cannot take place without peace. Peace cannot happen without accountability. Oxnard hasn’t been the exception in the rising nationwide occurrence of police terror and brutality – in fact, for years the City of Oxnard has been an industry leader in the ugly practice of harassing and abusing our working-class residents and communities of color. For these reasons, we invite residents to join us for a community march on Sunday, October 12, to mark the 2-year anniversary of Alfonso Limon Jr.’s death at the hands of the Oxnard Police Department. The Todo Poder al Pueblo Collective will be joined by the families of Jose Luis Ramirez (killed in 2011 by Port Hueneme officers), Robert Ramirez, Michael Mahoney, Alfonso Limon Jr., and other family members and friends of police brutality victims. The march will begin at 5 pm at Camino del Sol Park.

We will be demanding: 
- LEAVE OUR YOUTH IN PEACE - End the harassment and abuse!
- Officers with blood on their hands like Pedro Rodriguez don't belong at Pacifica High!
- ACCOUNTABILITY - We need Civilian Oversight and Community Control of the Oxnard Police Department!
- Money for Services, not for Militarizing our Streets!

Officer Pedro Rodriguez, implicated in Limon and Ramirez Killings, now School Resource Officer – How much does Pacifica High administration value the safety of its students?

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How much does Pacifica High school administration value the safety of its students?

–The previous resource officer of Pacifica High School was charged with “inappropriate conduct” with students and placed on paid administrative leave. Even after the Oxnard Police Department had enough evidence to prove his actions were not appropriate, he was still paid and not arrested.

–Now, the current resource officer, Pedro Rodriguez, is implicated in the murder of two unarmed civilians:

  • Alfonso Limon had been exercising at Pacifica before walking home and hearing gunfire from a police pursuit. Although Alfonso placed himself on the ground with his hands up and yelled, “Don’t shoot,” he was shot more than 16 times by the OPD.
  • Robert Ramirez died after being subjected to excessive force and denied medical treatment by the OPD. Witnesses say several officers, including Rodriguez, piled on top of Robert and held him down while he was in the middle of a medical emergency. This culminated in his death by homicide through asphyxia by active prone restraint.

After these brutal killings, OPD and Pacifica administration show no desire for accountability. The placement of Pedro Rodriguez as resource officer at Pacifica High School demonstrates blatant disregard for the safety of our youth.

Call Pacifica High School administration office (805) 278-5000

Call the Oxnard Union High School District 805 385-2500

No officers with blood on their hands should be allowed to work with our youth!!!


¿Cuánto valora la administración de Pacifica High School a la seguridad de sus alumnos?

–El oficial de la policía de recursos anterior de la Pacifica High School fue acusado de “conducta inapropiada” con los estudiantes y fue puesto en una salida administrativa pagada de la escuela. Incluso después de que el Departamento de policía de Oxnard (OPD) tenía suficiente evidencia para probar que sus acciones no eran apropiadas, era todavía pagado y no detenido.

Ahora, el oficial de policía de recursos actual en Pacifica, Pedro Rodriguez, está implicado en el asesinato de dos civiles desarmados:

  • Alfonso Limón estaba haciendo ejercicio en la escuela Pacifica antes de su muerte. Caminó desde la escuela hasta su casa cuando escuchó disparos de una persecución policial. Alfonso Limón se colocó en el suelo con las manos arriba y gritó, “No dispares”, le dispararon más de 16 veces por el OPD.
  • Robert Ramírez murió cuando le negaron tratamiento medico después de ser sometido a una fuerza excesiva del OPD. Testigos dicen que varios oficiales de la policía de Oxnard apilada sobre Robert, Pedro Rodriguez fue uno de los que le calló encima sobre Robert, y lo sujetaron mientras el estaba en medio de una emergencia médica. Esto término en muerte por asfixia debido a la posición del cuerpo boca abajo, recibiendo demasiada fuerza física al grado que le causó la muerte.

Después de estos brutales asesinatos, el OPD y la administración de Pacifica no demuestra ningún deseo de rendición de cuentas. La colocación de Pedro Rodríguez como oficial de policía de recursos en la escuela Pacifica demuestra una gran incompetencia por la seguridad de los jóvenes..
Llama Pacifica High School (805) 278-5000
Llame el Districto de Oxnard Union High School 805 385-2500
¡¡¡No se deben permitir policía con sangre en sus manos para trabajar con nuestros jóvenes!!!

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