VC STAR: Oxnard fails to commemorate bystander slain by police

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GRETCHEN WENNER/THE STAR The Oxnard City Council meeting was halted temporarily Tuesday night when anti-police chants broke out on the third anniversary of the fatal police shooting of bystander Alfonso Limon Jr. The city was supposed to have commemorated Limon with an anti-violence proclamation Tuesday, but failed to put the item on the agenda.

OXNARD, Calif. – Oxnard officials failed to recognize an anti-violence day Tuesday as required by a settlement with the family of a man mistakenly killed by police in 2012.

The oversight brought a late-night public apology from the police chief. Earlier, the City Council meeting was suspended for more than 10 minutes when a group chanting “killer cops off our streets” interrupted a public session on utility rates.

The council meeting coincided with the third anniversary of Alfonso Limon Jr.’s death. The 21-year-old was killed Oct. 13, 2012, when police mistook him for a violent suspect during a chaotic nighttime gunfight in the La Colonia neighborhood. Sixteen police bullets hit Limon, some causing multiple wounds.

A $6.7 million settlement agreement reached in 2014 requires the city to recognize Oct. 13 as Community Safety and Anti-Violence Day for five years in remembrance of Limon. The initial proclamation was made last year.

The commemoration now will be held at next Tuesday’s council meeting, officials said.

Oxnard Police Chief Jeri Williams took responsibility for the omission. City staff, meanwhile, scrambled behind the scenes to produce a framed proclamation that Williams had on hand when she addressed the council at the meeting’s close at about 11:30 p.m.

“I failed to agendize the proclamation” required by the settlement, she told the council.

“I’m beyond remorseful … to the Limon family,” Williams continued, her voice at times filled with emotion. “It’s just something I should have caught, and I didn’t.”

Limon’s family members and supporters, many wearing black T-shirts with his image, gathered outside after leaving the council chambers.

“In talking to the family outside,” Williams told the council, “it was assumed that we had forgotten. We haven’t forgotten this day. That was a tragic incident for the Limon family and for the entire city of Oxnard.”

Williams also gave a brief update on efforts to acquire body-worn cameras for officers, saying several attempts to get grant funding failed. The department is now looking at other funding options. The settlement requires the department to look into setting up the camera system.

“Again, I apologize for the oversight on my part,” Williams said as she concluded her remarks.

The text of the proclamation has been posted on the police department’s website at www.oxnardpd.org.

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