“Small city with big problems”: Oxnard Residents March to Community Relations Commission, Police Department to Demand End to Brutality

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Todo Poder al Pueblo Collective
Tel. (805) 328-4763
poder805@riseup.net

“Small city with big problems”: Oxnard Residents March to Community Relations Commission, Police Department to Demand End to Brutality

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Bereaved Mother Displays Son’s Photo Indicating that Brutal Beating Played Role in Son’s Death, City of Oxnard and Police Covering-Up Foul Play

(OXNARD, CA) On Monday, August 20, 2012, over a hundred local residents gathered in Oxnard’s Plaza Park before marching through downtown and into City Council Chambers to denounce police abuse and brutality at the Community Relations Commission (CRC) meeting. The community strongly conveyed that the CRC must carry out its mandate, “to promote better human relations among all city residents,” and ensure that these issues be placed on the next agenda of the Oxnard City Council. The community marched to the Oxnard Police Department headquarters where they powerfully chanted “Killer Cops, Off our Streets!” and similar slogans for approximately 30 minutes before returning to the park.

Full video here (28:13) : http://youtu.be/-RTZWFSJzAs

The Commission originally informed the Oxnard-based Todo Poder al Pueblo Collective that there were going to be formal presentations on the matter, and that the issue of severe misconduct on the part of the Oxnard Police Department (OPD) was going to be an item on the agenda. However, four days prior to the meeting, organizers were informed that interim City Manager Karen Burnham, City Attorney Alan Holmberg, and Chief of Police Jeri Williams had met and decided to block the item. Despite this setback, the community persisted by testifying on their experiences of police brutality and laid out its demands during the public comment segment of “items not on the agenda.”

The community’s core demands mandated systemic change to Oxnard Police Department practices in order to halt the ongoing pattern of police abuse and brutality.  Additionally, the community called for the establishment of an independent, community-based, Police Complaint Review Board with the power to take action when police officers mistreat or harm the community in any way.

The bereaved family of Robert Ramirez, who died in the custody of the Oxnard Police Department on the night of June 23, 2012, spoke out and made an anguished appeal for an independent investigation of his brutal death. Concerned that Ramirez was possibly experiencing a drug overdose, family friends who were seeking medical attention called 911. Eye witnesses (who wish to remain anonymous) informed the family that they saw what appeared to be Tasers used on the young man, in addition to the savage beating of the handcuffed Ramirez by seven to ten Oxnard Police officers.  A poster-sized photograph of the deceased Robert Ramirez was presented by the family before the CRC clearly indicating extensive facial bruising and physical trauma – evidence that the young Ramirez had been severely beaten prior to his tragic death.

Robert Ramírez’s Death in Custody of Oxnard Police Department Raises Question of Brutal Practices

Choking back tears, Teresa Ramirez stated that the OPD’s current practices could claim the lives of Commission members’ children, grandchildren, nieces, or nephews if OPD brutality isn’t put to an end. The grieving mother noted, “I’m not saying that every single police officer in this town is brutal and mean. But everyone knows who they are, and they’re still in our streets.” She also asked, “Why does the City ignore us? We are being brutally abused.” She then called for an independent investigation of the circumstances surrounding her son’s death.

FACT SHEET: ROBERT RAMÍREZ

Individuals present during public comments were unanimous: “We’re a small city but we have big problems.” This statement was made by Alberto Ramirez, who emotionally detailed his experiences with Oxnard police officers:  “I’ve got bills from the hospitals because officers also abused me. And I end up having to pay for them – for the x-rays.” Appealing to the Commission, he asked that they “just help us out… the police are getting away with too much.”

Also, the marchers strongly urged the CRC to assess the large, discriminatory gap between the police budget (which consumes nearly 60% of the city budget) versus monies allocated to parks and recreation, youth programs, and the employment of local youth.

A sign displayed by a community member read “Crooks and Killers Step Down!” Foul play has long been an open secret at the Council Chambers of the City of Oxnard. Recently, the City was the target of a two-year FBI investigation that began with federal raids on the offices and homes of city officials and ended by uncovering what the Ventura County district attorney office has gently called, “a clear pattern of fiscal waste.” This pattern of waste and corruption has included “improper borrowing” by the currently-suspended City Manager Ed Sotelo as well as self-rewarded retirement perks. The DA’s report (read complete report here)also uncovered the usage of “virtually unlimited” city funds spent on “travel expenses” related to lavish vacations by city officials, including trips by the outgoing Mayor Tom Holden to the home of a wealthy Oxnard land developer—undoubtedly—an issue of conflict of interests. The disgraced mayor and suspended city manager are currently facing a combined $23,000 in fines from the state ethics agency.

Los Angeles Times: Corruption Investigations in Oxnard

Los Angeles Times: Oxnard officials face ethics fines for accepting improper gifts

The Todo Poder al Pueblo Collective has called for a mobilization to the next meeting of the Oxnard City Council, Tuesday, September 11th. The action is set to begin at Plaza Park (5th and C St.) in downtown Oxnard at 6pm and the City Council meeting will begin at 7PM.

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“Ciudad pequeña con problemas grandes”: Residentes de Oxnard marchan a la Comisión de Relaciones Comunitarias, Departamento de Policía, para exigir fin a la brutalidad

PARA PUBLICACIÓN INMEDIATA

Colectivo Todo Poder al Pueblo
Tel. (805) 328-4763
poder805@riseup.net

“Ciudad pequeña con problemas grandes”: Residentes de Oxnard marchan a la Comisión de Relaciones Comunitarias, Departamento de Policía, para exigir fin a la brutalidad

Miércoles, 22 de agosto 2012

Madre afligida comparte foto de hijo mostrando brutalidad que jugó papel en su muerte, Ciudad de Oxnard y Policía encubren mala conducta

(Oxnard, CA) El lunes 20 de agosto, 2012, más de cien residentes locales se reunieron en la Plaza de Oxnard antes de marchar por el centro y llegar al Concilio de la Ciudad donde denunciaron incidentes de abuso y brutalidad policial ante la Comisión de Relaciones Comunitarias (CCR) durante su junta. Saturada con fuerza y valor, la comunidad exigió que el CCR lleve a cabo su mandato de “promover las buenas relaciones humanas entre todos los habitantes de la ciudad,” y asegure que estas cuestiones se incluyan en la agenda de la próxima reunión del Consejo Municipal de Oxnard. La comunidad marchó hasta la sede del Departamento de Policía de Oxnard donde gritaban enérgicamente, “¡Policías asesinos, fuera de nuestras calles!” y otros lemas similares durante media hora antes de regresar al parque.


Grabación de Vídeo Completa (28:13) : http://youtu.be/-RTZWFSJzAs

La Comisión le había comunicado al Colectivo Todo Poder al Pueblo, basado en Oxnard, que se iban a llevar acabo presentaciones formales sobre el tema durante la junta, y que la cuestión grave de mala conducta por parte del Departamento de Policía de Oxnard (OPD) se incluiría en la agenda oficial. Sin embargo, cuatro días antes de la reunión, los organizadores fueron informados que el administrador municipal interino Karen Burnham, el abogado de la ciudad Alan Holmberg, y el Jefe de la Policía Jeri Williams, se reunieron para lograr impedir que el tema fuera parte de la junta. A  pesar de este obstáculo, la persistencia de comunidad la llevó a testificar sobre sus experiencias de brutalidad policial y a presentar sus demandas durante los comentarios públicos de la sección “asuntos no incluidos en el orden del día.”

Las demandas de la comunidad exigen un cambio sistémico a las prácticas del Departamento de Policía de Oxnard con el fin de detener el patrón de abuso policial y brutalidad. Además, los presentes pidieron que se establezca una comisión independiente, basada en la comunidad, que funcione como Junta de Revisión de Quejas Policiales y que tenga el poder de tomar acción cuando agentes de la policía maltraten o abusen de la comunidad en cualquier manera.

La familia de Robert Ramírez, quien murió en la custodia del Departamento de Policía de Oxnard la noche del 23 de junio de 2012, se pronunció ante la CCR e hizo un llamado para una investigación independiente de la muerte brutal del joven. Preocupados por Ramírez, quien parecía estar pasando por una sobredosis de drogas, amigos de la familia buscaron atención médica llamando al 911. Testigos presentes (que desearon permanecer anónimos) informaron a la familia que vieron lo que parecía ser uso de armas Taser por parte de los policías, además de presenciar la golpiza salvaje del inofensivo y esposado joven a causa de entre siete a diez miembros de la policía de Oxnard. La familia presentó ante la CCR una fotografía de tamaño póster del difunto que demostró claramente el trauma extensivo en su cara—lo cual ayuda a comprobar que Ramírez fue severamente golpeado antes de su muerte.

La muerte de Robert Ramírez en custodia del Departamento de Policía de Oxnard presenta cuestión de prácticas brutales

Conteniendo sus lágrimas, la madre de Robert Ramírez, Teresa, indicó que las prácticas actuales de la OPD llegarán a tomar la vida de los hijos de los miembros del CCR, sus nietos, sobrinas y sobrinos, si es que no se pone un fin a la brutalidad por parte del OPD. La afligida madre señaló: “No estoy diciendo que cada uno los oficiales de policía en esta ciudad sea brutal y malo. Pero todo el mundo sabe quiénes son y todavía están en nuestras calles.” También preguntó, “¿Por qué nos ignora la ciudad? ¡Nos están abusando brutalmente!” También ella pidió una investigación independiente sobre las circunstancias que provocaron la muerte de su hijo.

HOJA DE DATOS: ROBERT RAMÍREZ

Las personas presentes durante los comentarios públicos fueron unánime: “Somos una ciudad pequeña pero tenemos problemas grandes.” Esta declaración la hizo Alberto Ramírez, quien emocionalmente detalló su experiencia con los agentes de policía de Oxnard: “Tengo las facturas de los hospitales porque los oficiales también abusaron de mí. Y yo acabé teniendo que pagar por ellos – por los rayos X.” Apelando a la Comisión, pidió que “sólo ayúdenos…la policía se está saliendo con demasiado.”

Además, los manifestantes instaron firmemente a la CCR para que evalúe la brecha grande y discriminatoria en el presupuesto municipal, comparando el departamento de policía (que consume casi el 60% del presupuesto de la ciudad) con las sumas asignadas a los departamentos de parques y recreación, programas y empleo para jóvenes locales.

Un letrero que mostró un miembro de la comunidad afirmó “¡Ladrones y Asesinos Fuera!” La mala conducta y la corrupción han plagado la ciudad por parte del Consejo Municipal. Recientemente, la ciudad fue sujeta a una investigación de dos años por el FBI que comenzó con incursiones federales en las oficinas y viviendas de los funcionarios de la ciudad, y terminó por descubrir lo que la oficina del abogado fiscal del Condado de Ventura ha llamado ligeramente, “un patrón claro de residuo fiscal.” Este patrón de malgasto y corrupción incluyó “préstamos indebidos” por Ed Sotelo, el administrador municipal actualmente suspendido, así como la auto-recompensa de beneficios de jubilación. El informe de la fiscalía (véase en su totalidad aquí) también descubrió el uso de fondos de la ciudad “prácticamente ilimitados” que se usaron para “gastos de viajes” en relación a las vacaciones espléndidas por funcionarios de la ciudad, incluyendo viajes hechos por el Alcalde Tom Holden a la casa de un adinerado desarrollador inmobiliario de Oxnard—sin duda—una cuestión de conflicto de intereses. El deshonrado alcalde y el suspendido administrador de la ciudad actualmente se enfrentan a un total de $23,000 en multas por la agencia estatal de ética.

Los Ángeles Times: Las investigaciones de corrupción en Oxnard
Los Ángeles Times:
Funcionarios de Oxnard enfrentan multas de ética por aceptar regalos

El Colectivo Todo Poder al Pueblo hace un llamado para la próxima reunión del Consejo Municipal de Oxnard, el martes 11 de septiembre. La acción está programada para comenzar en La Placita (Calles 5 y “C”) en el centro de Oxnard a las 6pm y la reunión del Consejo Municipal comenzará a las 7pm.

[FACT SHEET/HOJA DE DATOS] – ROBERT RAMÍREZ

(Photographs from Oxnard People’s Assembly 08.20.12 courtesy of CTPaP Media Operations)

FACT SHEET

Robert Ramírez

On the night of June 23, 2012, family friends of Robert Ramírez called 911 upon realizing that he needed medical attention after ingesting stimulants. Shortly after, Oxnard Police officers confronted 26-year-old Ramírez on the 1100 block of South ‘L’ Street. However, what ensued with the arrival of 7-10 officers resulted in criminal behavior—not only did officers prevent Ramírez from receiving urgent medical attention, they attacked him by using unnecessary excessive force even after he was handcuffed and posed no immediate physical threat to the officers and their actions directly resulted in his death.

ROBERT RAMÍREZ WAS NOT A GANG MEMBER

  • Despite erroneous reports from multiple media outlets, Robert Ramírez was not affiliated with a gang.
  • Vested interest from police authorities and their loyal media seek to tarnish and discredit Ramírez in order to take away from the fact that OPD officers murdered an innocent and harmless man.

OPD DELAYED MEDICAL ASSISTANCE

  • While the 911 call on June 23 was for medical assistance, this was denied by OPD. Not until Robert Ramírez was handcuffed and beaten unconscious did they allow emergency personnel to begin life-saving measures.
  • Ron Bamieh, the family’s attorney, has collected video evidence and witness testimonies which prove that Ramírez did not attack any officers but that they approached him first, took him to the ground, and began beating him. When you look at the evidence and injuries that resulted from the altercation, it is clear that he was beaten.

ROBERT RAMÍREZ WAS MURDERED BY OFFICERS FROM THE OXNARD POLICE DEPARTMENT

  • Despite OPD’s press release—and subsequent regurgitated reports by several media outlets—the fact remains that Ramírez died under police custody and that evidence demonstrates misconduct by OPD.
  • Contrary to OPD’s statements (via spokeswoman Monica Muñoz and Assistant Police Chief Scott Whitney), which claim that officers did not hit Robert or deploy less-than-lethal weaponry such as stun guns or Tasers, photographs and reports obtained from the coroner’s office confirm that Robert Ramírez’s body showed extensive bruises and physical trauma at the time of his death.

OXNARD MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL HAVE YET TO TAKE ACTION

  • Although 7 (of the possibly 10) officers involved were placed on paid administrative leave following the incident, all officers resumed duty as of June 27.
  • Robert’s murder was arbitrary, unnecessary and racist. The community of Oxnard demands a full and complete investigation of OPD for the cover up and of the officers involved in the murder of Robert Ramírez.

###

(Photographs from Oxnard People’s Assembly 08.20.12 courtesy of CTPaP Media Operations)

HOJA DE DATOS

Robert Ramírez

La noche del 23 de junio del 2012, amigos de la familia de Robert Ramírez llamaron al 911 después de darse cuenta que necesitaba atención médica por haber ingerido estimulantes. Poco después, agentes del Departamento de Policía de Oxnard (OPD) enfrentaron Ramírez de 26 años de edad en la cuadra 1100 de la calle Sur “L”. Lo que sucedió cuando llegaron entre 7-10 oficiales resultó en comportamiento criminal ya que no sólo previnieron que Ramírez recibiera atención médica urgente, lo atacaron usando fuerza excesiva e innecesaria, incluso después de haberlo esposado. Robert Ramírez no presentaba una amenaza física a los oficiales y sus acciones directamente causaron su muerte.

ROBERT RAMÍREZ NO ERA PANDILLERO

  • A pesar de informes erróneos por múltiples medios de comunicación, Robert Ramírez no pertenecía a ninguna pandilla.
  • El interés de las autoridades policiales y sus medios aliados intentan deshonrar la imagen de Ramírez con el fin de ocultar el hecho de que los oficiales del OPD asesinaron a un joven inocente e inofensivo.

OPD IMPIDIÓ ASISTENCIA MÉDICA

  • Mientras la llamada al 911 fue para recibir asistencia médica, esto fue negado por el OPD. No fue hasta que Robert Ramírez fue esposado y golpeado, hasta quedar inconsciente, que le permitieron al personal de emergencia comenzar sus medidas salva-vidas.
  • Ron Bamieh, el abogado de la familia, ha logrado acumular evidencia en video y testimonios de testigos que demuestran que Ramírez no atacó a ningún oficial sino que ellos se acercaron primero a él, lo tumbaron al suelo y comenzaron a golpearlo. Cuando vemos la evidencia y  las lesiones en Ramírez producidas en el altercado, está claro que los oficiales lo golpearon.

ROBERT RAMÍREZ  FUE ASESINADO POR AGENTES DEL DEPARTAMENTO DE POLICÍA DE OXNARD

  • A pesar del lanzamiento de prensa del OPD y los malos informes por varios medios de prensa—el hecho es que Ramírez murió bajo custodia policial y que la evidencia muestra mala conducta por OPD.
  • A pesar de las declaraciones del OPD (a través de la portavoz Mónica Muñoz y el Asistente de Jefe de Policía Scott Whitney), que afirman que los agentes no golpearon a Robert ni implementaron armas como pistolas paralizantes o Taser, fotografías e informes de la oficina forense confirman que el cuerpo de Ramírez presentaba extensos hematomas y trauma físico en el momento de su muerte.

EL ALCALDE DE OXNARD Y CONCEJO MUNICIPAL AÚN TIENEN QUE ACTUAR

  • Aunque 7 (de los posible 10) oficiales implicados fueron puestos en permiso administrativo (vacaciones pagadas) después del incidente, todos los oficiales reasumieron sus puestos el día 27 de junio.
  •  El asesinato de Robert fue arbitrario, innecesario y racista. La comunidad de Oxnard exige una investigación exhaustiva y completa del OPD y de los oficiales implicados en el asesinato de Robert Ramírez.

IMMEDIATE RELEASE: City Of Oxnard Attempts To Silence Community In Exposing Brutality By Blocking Issue From The Commission On Community Relations Agenda


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Todo Poder al Pueblo Collective

http://www.TodoPoderAlPueblo.org

Media Contact:

(805)328-4763

poder805@riseup.net


COMMUNITY MARCH AND ACTION TO DEMAND JUSTICE FOR ROBERT RAMIREZ AND OTHER VICTIMS OF POLICE BRUTALITY AND ABUSE


City Of Oxnard Attempts To Silence Community In Exposing Brutality By Blocking Issue From The Commission On Community Relations Agenda

On Monday, August 20th, community members, family and friends of Robert Ramirez, the young man that died while in the custody of the Oxnard Police department, will gather at 5pm at Plaza Park in Downtown Oxnard. This will be followed by a march to the Oxnard City Council Chambers, located at 305 E. Third Street, to the Commission on Community Relations (CCR) meeting at 6pm.

CONTEXT: Robert Ramirez’s Death in Custody of Oxnard Police Department Raises Question of Brutal Practices
Originally, the goal was to make a formal presentation to the CCR as an item on the agenda. However, as of Thursday August 17, the Interim City Manager, City Attorney and the Chief of Police have blocked the community from making a formal presentation. Community members will make public comments and demand an independent investigation into the clear circumstances leading to Robert Ramirez’ death at the hands of the Oxnard Police Department.
VIDEO:

1) Todo Poder al Pueblo: 8/4/12 Hundreds March on the Oxnard PD to demand justice for victims of police brutality!

2) HispanTV: Comunidad de Oxnard enfrenta a la policía local

The people of Oxnard will no longer be shoved around. Efforts are underway to ensure that the City of Oxnard or the Oxnard Police Department practice accountability to residents of the community. Community organizations such as the Todo Poder al Pueblo Collective have pledged to continue organizing actions to expose the ongoing patterns of police brutality such as that which claimed young Ramirez’s life.

THE PEOPLE’S CORE DEMANDS:

  • Comparing police budget to parks and recreation and youth programs budget.
  • Allocating more funds to youth programs and employment.
  • Independent Community Police Complaint Review Board
  • Re-Evalutation of the Gang Injunction
  • Put Police Misconduct and Brutality on the City Council AgendaWE WILL FIGHT FOR:
    • HANDS OFF OUR YOUTH: No more beatings, profiling, or harassment!
    • ACCOUNTABILITY BY THE OPD: Killer cops, off our streets!
    • Money for services, not the militarization of our community!
    • Community Police Review Board!

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[VIDEO] 8/4/12 March on the Oxnard PD – Justice for victims of police brutality!

On August 4, 2012, the Colectivo Todo Poder al Pueblo and other community organizations held a vigil in solidarity with the family of Robert Ramirez to commemorate his slaying at the hands of the Oxnard Police Department. The vigil soon turned into a march on the OPD’s headquarters as the community fearlessly decided that it’s time to stand up to put a stop to the harassment and violence imposed by the police on our neighborhoods and families. YA BASTA — We will no longer be shoved around!

We will fight for:
• HANDS OFF OUR YOUTH: No more beatings, profiling, or harassment!
• ACCOUNTABILITY BY THE OPD: Killer cops, off our streets!
• Money for services, not the militarization of our community!
• Independent Civilian Complaint Review Boards NOW!
###
El 4 de agosto de 2012, el Colectivo Todo Poder al Pueblo y otras organizaciones comunitarias realizaron una vigilia en solidaridad con la familia de Robert Ramírez para conmemorar su asesinato por el Departamento de Policía de Oxnard (OPD). La vigilia pronto se convirtió en una marcha en la oficina de OPD y la comunidad libre de temor decidido que es hora de ponerse de pie para terminar con el acoso y la violencia impuesta por la policía en nuestros barrios y en contra de nuestras familias. YA BASTA – ¡Ya no vamos a permitir este abuso!
LUCHAREMOS POR:
• ¡DEJEN A NUESTROS JOVENES EN PAZ: Alto a la brutalidad y el acoso!
• ¡POLICIA DE OXNARD rinda cuentas a la comunidad: policías asesinos, fuera!
• ¡Dinero para servicios, no la militarización de nuestra comunidad!
• ¡Un comité comunitario de revisión policial AHORA!

HispanTV: Comunidad de Oxnard enfrenta a la policía local

La comunidad de Oxnard, una ciudad agrícola en el centro de California, enfrenta a la policía local demandando la detención del problema creciente de brutalidad policial.

Astrid Solórzano nos amplía la noticia.

**Nota**: El video por HispanTV usa la palabra “pandillero” en su descripción del joven Robert Ramirez. Es importante aclarar que Robert NO ERA pandillero y que ese comentario estuvo de más. La preferencia de CTPaP es que ese comentario sea omitido en la edición.

http://www.hispantv.com

Justice for Robert Ramirez and all of the victims of Police Terror in Raza and Oppressed Communities!

By Francisco ‘Chavo’ Romero

(Note: The following note was presented on August 4, 2012, at 6pm, where there was a vigil taking place at La Placita in Downtown Oxnard, in memory of Robert Ramirez and all victims of police brutality.)

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***

Good evening everyone,

First and foremost, I offer my deepest condolences to Robert Ramirez’s familia. Your loss is felt within all of our corazones. One could only imagine how heart-wrenching it must have been bury your son, brother, sobrino, at such a young age. We are here to offer any type of support that we can in the unjust death of Robert at the hands of the Oxnard Police Department. I will talk a little more about that in bit.

I wanted to introduce myself to everyone here. My name is Francisco ‘chavo’ Romero and I am a member of Union del Barrio which has been organizing for over 15 years here in Oxnard against police brutality and injustices against our gente. I am also here today as a member of the Colectivo Todo Poder al Pueblo, which has for the past 2 years has led some community actions and organizing in defense against the mirgra raids, detentions, deportations and police-migra collaboration, along with this issue, police brutality.

Also, as some of you may know, Robert was my student nearly 12 years ago. He was in the first class that I ever taught in. I shared with you at the rosary that was held the night before we buried Robert, that he was an extremely intelligent young man. He was so advanced for his age in junior high and he always asked of me to give him more challenging work. He came in to class late often, and he only lived a block away! The entire class always loved when he came in and made his daily grand entrance. He always went out of his way to walk around the class and help other students with their work, he would usually help all of the girls in class especially. With a huge smile on his face he would come up to me throwing up his two thumbs up and winking at me, because he was able to get one of the girl’s number.

In fact, this is how we all must remember him I am sure. He was always smiling it seemed, all day and night. He also walked with a flow, a rhythm, a strut. It was as if he had music playing in his head as he danced down the school hallways and down the block in the neighborhood. He was what one would call, a Cool Cat… suave with style. This is how I will always remember him for the rest of my life. In fact, I know he is smiling amongst and within us all here in this placita tonight.  He is in our hearts and soul, que no, I am sure you feel what I am saying.

I would like to ask everyone, to close their eyes and envision Robert with us here, or perhaps, take a trip into your mind and play out one of the most fun or happiest times you had with Robert. Maybe he was dancing with you at that backyard boogie, or eating dinner with you, or kicking back at the parque. Close your eyes please in this moment of silence.

Thank you, and with our left fist symbolizing our commitment to struggle and fight to bring justice, we say Rest in Power, Robert Ramirez, Presente! Robert Ramirez, Presente!

Now, this brings me to the political struggle that we are currently waging to bring those that are responsible for Robert’s death to justice.

First, I want to let the Oxnard Police know, please do not come up to us with smiles and try to shake our hands like everything is fine and dandy. It is not…  Seven of your officers, on the night of June 23rd, responded to a call where Robert needed medical attention, yet you came full force, surrounded him, brutalized him terribly thereby causing his death. At the order of police chief Jeri Williams, your assistant chief, Scott Whitney authored and pulled a movida, a dirty move, this past Tuesday by releasing the 911 audio of that night. We know clearly that this was done just days before this vigil tonight to cast a negative image of Robert. Rather than face up to the reality of the role the seven cops that arrived at the scene played in his wrongful death, you cops have opted to attempt to discredit and dishonor Robert and his familia!  You want to paint Robert as just another young Mexican man that was caught up in drugs and that he was probably just going to die anyways.

You cowards came in rough rugged and raw that night, as usual. Beat down or shoot first, ask questions later, that is how you operate in our barrios. Believe me, I know from personal experience. That is not how cops operate in the rich neighborhoods, best believe this would not happen if the Oxnard PD showed up to Oxnard Shores and some rich white kid was going through the same scenario. I guarantee that the cops would have not even laid a hand on that gabacho. They would have brought in a trained negotiator to attempt to calm things down and deescalate the situation. They would have had the paramedics assist that gabacho on the scene and ensured he made it to the hospital alive and received the highest quality of medical attention, and then rehabilitation programs.

The Oxnard Police on that night, judged, convicted and took Robert’s life, squeezing the last breath out of him by beating him to a pulp. We hear that he might have even been handcuffed already and that Robert screamed for them to stop as the cops proceeded to take cheap shots at him, como cobardes. Robert was denied those privileges afforded to those that have power, the rich and their children.

What we are talking about here tonight is that the very fabric this entire genocidal sistema we live under was woven and is soaked with blood of the indigenous peoples’ and the African slaves by a Culture of Violence that established the laws that govern us today and hire the police that now roam our streets.

What we are talking about here tonight is privilege, racism, and economic/political/social oppression. What we mean by this is that, the police have the privilege of going back home, which is not here. They do not live amongst us; they live as far as they can from us. You better believe that cops would treat our community differently if they lived next door to us. We would know where they live if they even hinted at wanting to brutalize us. We are also talking about the privilege of not dealing with the impoverished conditions the majority of our community struggles with, working the lowest paying jobs, having the least in funding for education, community recreation programs, and employment opportunities for our youth.

Over half of the City of Oxnard budget goes to the Oxnard Police, so that they can put more police on the street to brutalize us, and so that they can buy all of their weapons they use against us. We guarantee you, give us, the community, $10 million dollars per year and we will improve the conditions in our barrios. They won’t give us those resources though, it is controlled by the cops, this city has historically been a white-landowner and police run city and it still is! Usually to get elected around here, you have to kneel and kiss the ring of the cops, power-brokers and their lackeys.

So, we are here tonight to say Ya Basta! We are tired of this systemic, state-sanction terror against our gente. We will at minimum demand for an independent investigation into the death of Robert at the hands of the police. We will demand and organize the formation of an independent Community-Based Police Review Board with the power to fire any cop that unjustly lays their hands or causes harm to our youth, men, or women. We will demand that the killer cops be removed off our streets. We will demand more resources for our communities for youth programs.

We are also here to say, that we will continue to bring justice to the wrongful death of Robert Ramirez, and we will take actions, actions outside of your permission, actions that will disrupt business as usual and that will bring this issue to the front pages of the media for the world to see. We may have to organize a huge marcha and take over the next city council meeting, looking at the council and the chief of police in their face and tell them that we are not backing down. In a recent statement that my organization Union del Barrio published regarding the police-terror against the community in Anaheim when the cops killed two young men, about the same age as Robert, in that statement we wrote:

“The solution to this type of state sanctioned terror is not to slow down. It is not to calm down, and it is not to go home. The only solution is to take to the streets, to organize our neighborhoods, and build the kind of organization and movement capable of fighting on our own terms, for our collective interests and in our own defense.”

Justice for Robert Ramirez and all of the victims of Police Terror in Raza and Oppressed Communities! Que Viva la Raza!