Oxnard Police Chief Williams is Finally Gone – OPD Victims’ Families, Organizers Respond

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Jeri Williams, Oxnard’s long-disgraced chief of police, has finally left the city to become the top cop in her Phoenix, Arizona hometown. The ex-chief, who was given her job in Oxnard by ultra-corrupt former City Manager Ed Sotelo in fall 2010, is finally done as of this month after using our community as a career stepping-stone. Let’s count the bloody costs of her administration and review the tragedies she left in her wake:
  • While Williams was chief, Robert Ramirez , who urgently sought medical attention – was choked to death on June 23, 2012, as officers piled on top of him while he posed no threat. The last words he uttered was the now-familiar refrain of community martyrs across the country:  “I can’t breathe.” The department later settled for $2.9 million. The commanding officer on the scene, Steven Ramirez, now heads the Internal Affairs division of OPD.
  • Michael Mahoney, who struggled with mental illness, was shot to death in his own home on August 14, 2012.
  • The blood of young Alfonso Limon, Jr. was needlessly spilled across the sidewalk in his own neighborhood on October 13, 2012, traumatizing an entire city. The department was forced to settle the murder case for $6.7 million, a record amount for the city. The officer who riddled him with the most bullets, Ernie Orozco, quickly retired and found a new job as a bailiff at the Ventura County Traffic Court on Vineyard while also collecting a retirement pension from OPD. Another officer, Pedro Rodriguez – also involved in the Ramirez killing – was made the resource officer at Limon’s old school, Pacifica High and has reportedly been reassigned to Frank Middle School.
  • Young father Juan Zavala was at a Narcotics Anonymous meeting in downtown Oxnard, seeking to go sober so that he could better provide for his family. Confronted with officers, he attempted to flee but the officers caught him and tackled him, beating him mercilessly while repeatedly pounding his head against a metal pole in full view of witnesses. After being booked and imprisoned on charges of resisting arrest, Zavala was soon transported to Ventura County Medical Center before dying of “unknown causes” on June 28, 2014. The case is currently in court.
  • Meagan Hockaday, a beloved 26-year-old mother, was shot to death by cowardly Officer Roger Garcia in her own apartment in the early hours of March 28, 2015. Garcia disregarded the close presence of her 3 baby children. After a short spell of desk-duty, the officer has since returned to our streets. The family of Meagan, like the others, has not recovered since.
img_20161014_014217_processedThe above is just the tip of a vast iceberg that doesn’t even begin to address those who were needlessly beaten, tasered, traumatized, arrested and incarcerated by the staff of “Chief Jeri.”
Ex-Chief Williams has constantly been commended by city officials for the manner in which she handled the deaths of innocent victims of the Oxnard Police Department and, within the logic of the system, she did what her position required. She feigned remorse with no regard for the families’ grief, pain, and need for justice. Williams failed to seek any structural change. She maneuvered calls for community oversight into private, contracted services designed to quell community rage. She also specifically targeted organizers with the Todo Poder al Pueblo Collective for retribution through politicized traffic citations – punishing us for standing alongside the community. To top it all – in an obscene and purely cynical display of liberal identity politics – ex-Chief Williams led Martin Luther King Jr. Day marches and received absurd “Woman of the Year” awards, while the lives of black women like Meagan Hockaday (and her family members) were destroyed. 
Ex-Chief Williams faced constant protests for her failure to answer to community needs, like this one on Oct. 22, 2012.

Williams faced constant protests as head of the Oxnard PD.

Jeri Williams ruthlessly waged war against the poor: she proudly upheld the gang injunctions that divided our communities; impounded countless cars belonging to undocumented working families; allowed officers to use heavy-handed tactics against residents, non-violent offenders and youth; all while squandering city funds on PR efforts meant to construct a completely false picture of “improved police-community relations.” While the city council and paid shills for the department might applaud, our community knows what her track record actually entailed.
It would be almost a cause for celebration that she’s no longer in Oxnard, were it not for the persistence of systemic racism and police violence in our communities. 
OPD Chief Scott WhitneyWilliams will now be replaced by her second-in-command, Chief Scott Whitney. A career officer who served 25 years in the Oxnard Police – much of it in the top brass of the department – Chief Whitney has been a loyal member of the force while it committed dozens of egregious abuses of our community and our rights. We have zero expectation of change under Whitney’s watch and will be monitoring police actions alongside our community just as carefully as we did under his former boss.
In consideration of the unchanging nature of the police – and in solidarity with increased mobilizations against police terror across our communities and across the country – we will continue to resist their violence, the role they play, and the propaganda that supports it. We will do this by patiently continuing to build accountability from the bottom-up,  and by doing this in a spirit that goes beyond limited and superficial reforms alone. Instead, we’ll keep pushing toward deep, systemic alternatives where the repressive force of state violence is simply no longer something needed or allowed in our daily lives or in our neighborhoods.
– TODO PODER AL PUEBLO COLLECTIVE

VOICES OF THE FAMILIES


Misha Charlton, older sister of Meagan Hockaday:

Meagan Hockaday (L) with her mother Monique (C) and sister Misha (R)

Meagan Hockaday (L) with her mother Monique (C) and sister Misha (R)

The only way I can describe my feelings about Jeri Williams is in descriptive words and deeply-felt emotions such as: Disgust, Anger, Disappointment, Grief, Loathing.
There may have been a time that I once would have felt a sense of pride in Black Woman accomplishing her goals and rising to the level of chief or police.
There may have been a time when I would have trusted that a member of the pastoral board in my mother’s very own HOME church would have our back and understand our grief.
There may have been a time when I felt like I was safe in my community and that police, at least for the most part, were here to protect me.
All of those thoughts, beliefs, and trust were shattered due to Jeri Williams and her negligence in really overseeing and accepting responsibility for her inaction and her officers and their actions.
I soon realized I had ZERO pride in this woman and was ashamed of any likeness.
I soon realized that even a member of the church pastoral board could lack empathy, understanding, and accountability.
Most profoundly, I soon was made painfully aware that the Oxnard Police Department as a whole could not be trusted. They were not protecting us; they were not safe options when looking for who to call for help. They did not strive to preserve life under the tutelage of Jerri Williams. Now she has left our city and left behind the grief she’s helped to cause. I pray that Jeri Williams will never stain another town with the blood of the innocent and the tears of the community as she did in Oxnard.


(The partner of Juan Zavala and mother of his child chose not to release a statement due to ongoing litigation regarding the circumstances of his death)

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Becky Limon Silva, sister of Alfonso Limon, Jr.:

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The family of Alfonso Limon, Jr. (in back, 4th from right) in happier times. Becky is on the far right.

Jeri Williams’ departure to Arizona is nothing to be celebrated. Jeri Williams has been recognized as “Woman of the Year” and praised by the incompetent Mayor Tim Flynn for the way she handled officer involved shootings. My brother Alfonso Limon Jr, unfortunately fell victim to the Oxnard Police Department’s policing, or rather lack of. This police department protects the community with exceptions, had Jeri Williams and her officers done their job, my brother would still be alive. There is no gratification in stealing innocent lives. Jeri Williams did nothing but provide cover to and protect killer cops. She’s looking forward to a new chapter and being close to her family. What do the families of the victims killed have to look forward to? Visiting their loved one at the cemetery? Running into one of the officers that killed their loved one? Hearing and reading how the Oxnard Police Department is protecting and “serving the community with exceptional service”? My loved one is six feet under because of the Oxnard Police Department! Yet this city and its mediocre mayor have the audacity to commend her for her leadership. Jeri Williams, YOU will not be missed! Good riddance!


Tara Mahoney, twin sister of Michael Mahoney:

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Michael “Mikey” Mahoney and his twin sister Tara Mahoney

I feel extremely bad and fear for the safety of the people in the community (Phoenix) where she has gone because her way of bringing justice and so-called “peace” between the people and the officers is to lie and cover up the misconduct and wrongdoing. I know nothing will bring back the life of my twin brother, or the horrific pain I still feel from his loss, but the simple fact is that now I can barely leave my house, which wasn’t the case before his death four years ago. Had there been any kind of screening or training (longer than an 8-hour class from 10-15 yrs ago) to better handle the mentally ill in crisis or anyone in crisis it would have helped me know that he didn’t die in vain…. Had she been held the least bit responsible for what those officers did under her watch, then there’s no way she’d still be allowed to work in the same field. The relations between officers and the public have not improved since her arrival in Oxnard, they got much worse. My father, who lived in the house where my brother was killed since 1977, moved out of state within one year of my brother’s death due to the fear of his own safety — leaving me, a single mother of three, all alone with nobody to help me… I want to warn Phoenix residents that under Williams’ watch, police will have a green light to murder without consequence!


Tere Ramirez, Robert Ramirez

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Pinche vieja puta ojala que se pudra that’s what I have to say about that fuckin’ b#$^@

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