Weekend of action against police murders in Southern California

 East LA demo, Dec. 21
Photo: Mike Prysner

On Dec. 21 and 22, two major actions took place in Southern California as part of the movement against police brutality.

With actions across the entire state growing in frequency, activists, community members and families of victims took action in the Los Angeles area against the LA County Sherriff’s Department. The actions were supported by the ANSWER Coalition and other community organizations.

On Dec. 21, people marched in East Los Angeles in response to the recent murder of Carlos Oliva by L.A. Country Sherriff’s Deputy Anthony Forlano.

Oliva was a 23-year-old customer service worker, who was walking in his own neighborhood when he was racially profiled by police, who say they were responding to a domestic disturbance in the area, which had taken place on Sept. 10, 2013.

Witnesses say officer Forlano shot and killed Oliva almost immediately after stopping him. Forlano is known to have shot at least seven other people while on duty.

Marching through the heart of East LA to the Sherriff’s station, the young sister of Carlos Oliva spoke to the crowd: “We have to do this so that nobody else has to go through what we’re going through.”

On Dec. 22, family and community members in Paramount, Calif., marked what would have been the birthday of Ignacio Ochoa, an immigrant worker. On May 14, 2013, Ochoa was riding his bike on the way to the store when police racially profiled and detained him.

While Ochoa was handcuffed and restrained by police, he was shot execution-style in the back of the head.

When one witnessed tried to ask one of the L.A. police officers what had happened, they replied, “Don’t worry, it’s just another dead Mexican.”

Witnesses also say Ochoa cried “God please help me” for over 15 minutes as he bled to death waiting for an ambulance to arrive.

The crowd rallied near Ochoa’s home, led by his widow, Yuli, and his three children, ages 17, 11 and three.

Both actions were joined by family members of other victims of police murder, showing the expanding network of families and community activists organizing against police brutality. At the weekend’s actions, it was clear from the energy of the community that the drive to fight is only increasing.

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