VENTURA COUNTY STAR: Oxnard crowd protests officer-involved shootings

–  Hundreds of protesters marched through Oxnard city streets Monday night shouting “killer cops off our streets” after three fatal shootings in the city this year that involved police officers.

Protesters gathered at Del Sol Park at 5 p.m., many carrying signs condemning the shootings. Speakers addressed the crowd, including Elliott Gabriel, a member of Todo Poder al Pueblo Collective, a local group that has rallied this year against what it calls Oxnard police brutality.

Gabriel said Oxnard would not be safe for residents unless they defend themselves from what he said are overzealous police who too often commit brutality on the people they are sworn to protect.

“They have become used to abusing us,” Gabriel said of the police.

– Among those at the protest Monday was Teresa Ramirez, whose 26-year-old son, Robert, died after a police struggle in June. Ramirez and other family members say he was beaten by officers and are demanding an independent investigation.

“I want the officers who killed my son arrested and prosecuted just like any other criminal,” said Ramirez as a group of people held large color photographs of her son’s face after he was killed. The photos appear to show bruising to his face.

One of Ramirez’s friends carried a sign that said, “The only secure community is an organized community.”

Protesters later marched from Del Sol Park to a memorial for Limon and Jose Zepeda, 24, the two people fatally shot by Oxnard police this month. From there, they marched to the police station downtown. There was little or no overt police presence during the march to police headquarters.

A group of police gathered in the parking lot in back before protesters arrived. Many wore helmets, carried batons and stood in formation.

Once protesters arrived at police headquarters, they briefly broke off into two groups. One group stayed in front of the station, shouting “killer cops off our streets.” Another group briefly went to the back of the building, where helmeted police had been gathered minutes before. By the time protesters arrived in back, the police had gone inside the building or left in their squad cars.

In front of police headquarters, protesters grabbed large pieces of chalk and wrote messages on the sidewalks such as, “Stop the police killing.” A woman wrote, “R.I.P. Robert Ramirez.”

After about 20 minutes at the police station, the crowd marched to Plaza Park a few blocks away, where more speeches were given. Marchers then went east toward Oxnard Boulevard and north along the street. They blocked at least one lane of the boulevard as many made their way back to the La Colonia neighborhood, where Zepeda and Limon were shot.

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