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CA Police Brutality Coalition Calls Andy Lopez Killing 'Police Terrorism'
SANTA ROSA – A statewide police brutality organization is noting that on October 22 – the same day that thousands of people were protesting "police terror" across the country and at the State Capitol in Sacramento – a Santa Rosa Sheriff's Deputy gunned down 13-year-old Andy Lopez.
"We are heartbroken and outraged that Andy Lopez was murdered by Erick Gelhaus of the Sonoma County Sheriff's Department. We demand police terror on American citizens stop immediately. We demand Justice for Andy Lopez, his family and his community," said Christina Arechiga of the CA Statewide Coalition Against Police Brutality.
She said that even as hundreds gathered at the Capitol representing labor, students, community groups and more than 50 families whose loved ones were murdered by police (the CA Statewide Coalition Against Police Brutality), they learned "about the horror happening in Santa Rosa."
The Coalition issued a letter to Santa Rosa District Attorney Jill Ravitch, demanding "Erick Gelhaus (be) charged immediately for the murder of Andy Lopez." http://www.poormagazine.org/node/4954
The letter continued:
"It is an abomination that the police are allowed to investigate themselves. When Santa Rosa PD investigates the Sonoma County Sheriff & then the Sonoma County Sheriff investigates the Santa Rosa PD those 2 departments are not conducting “independent” investigations. When there is no 3rd party doing an entire investigation then the people cannot rely on the information being complete or untainted.
"We are aware that there were witnesses that the police never interviewed, there have been witnesses that have been harassed after speaking to the media and there are other citizens stepping forward about the mental state of Erick Gelhaus. Additionally, with Erick Gelhaus’ obsession with guns and preparing for 'war zones,' we have a plethora of information that suggest that he premeditated killing in the line of duty and knew the importance of being able to 'articulate' to his superiors how he felt he was in 'fear of his life' in order to get away with murder if need be.
"Andy Lopez was given LESS than 10 seconds to understand what was happening and comply, no reasonable person believes that he was fully aware of the situation. Andy Lopez is dead and we are disgusted at law enforcements tactics of demonizing this boy. He was a boy being a boy, playing with toys, walking in his own neighborhood. Our efforts to protect this child and his family from this slander will not cease.
"This behavior by the Sonoma County is terrorism. We will not allow blatant murder to happen at the hands of law enforcement...a badge is not a license to kill and it does not grant extra rights.
"On February 1, 1960 four young black men took seats at a Woolworth’s segregated lunch counter in Greensboro, NC – by July of that year Woolworth’s integrated all of its stores. Like Rosa Parks resisted and like Cesar Chavez organized. So will the movement behind Andy Lopez.
"We will not allow this murder to go unanswered for. If an indictment of penal code 187, murder is not filed against Erick Gelhaus those responsible will answer to the people. We await you doing the right thing. "
Thursday/November 7, 2013
Contact: castatewidecoalition [at] gmail.com