[ Photo by Bradley Allen. Frank Alvarado holds a sign on May 14, 2014 stating “Invest in Protecting and Healing, Not in Caging” before speaking at a Sin Barras rally at the Santa Cruz Courthouse for building strong communities in California, not more jails! ]
Rally in Salinas Demands Justice for Frank Alvarado, Killed by Salinas Police
On July 10, 2014 at around 5 AM, officers with the Salinas Police Department reportedly shot and killed Frank Alvarado at a private home in East Salinas. Frank was a member of Santa Cruz-based Sin Barras and spoke out against prison expansion at a rally in Santa Cruz on May 14. His killing was at least the fourth murder by Salinas Police Department cops since March 21, 2014. All four police killings have been of Latino men, and all have occurred in East Salinas.
At the May 14, 2014 rally in Santa Cruz, Frank spoke passionately about the need to budget state money for social programs instead of prison expansion. Frank also shared his personal experience of incarceration, and described his release from prison in July of 2013. He cautioned that building more prisons at the sacrifice of schools and parks will lead to devastating results for California. "You will have your hell if you build those prisons," he said.
In response to the killing of Frank, the Direct Action Monterey Network called for a rally on Saturday, July 12, 2014 at the corner of S Sanborn Rd & Fairview Ave in East Salinas against police violence and to demand justice for Frank Alvarado. Demonstrators, including friends and family of Frank from Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties, held signs with messages such as "Stop Police Brutality. Justice For My Uncle!," "SPD Don't Shoot Me. I'm On My Phone," "Another Murder Brought To You By The SPD," and "Stop Giving Cops Paid Vacation For Murder!"
Speakers at the July 12 rally included Frank Alvarado's sister, Angélica Garza; Frank's niece, Natalie Mendoza; as well as Courtney Hanson and Tash Nguyen of Sin Barras, a prison abolition group based in Santa Cruz.
Frank's sister Angélica said she was born in Watsonville and Frank was born in Salinas. Angélica's statements included, "I want justice for Frankie," "He had a big heart," and "I want to thank every single one of you from the bottom of my heart."
Frank's niece Natalie was calm, sad, well-spoken, and angry. She righteously proclaimed, "It's not right. I've never had this much hate in my life for anything else. I'm sad, but I'm more angry than anything else because of how he was gunned down. There was no reason for how he was killed; no way to justify their actions. He wasn't even armed. We just need justice for him, and everybody else, all the other cases that have gone like this. There needs to be justice, and SPD needs to have a taste of their own medicine."
Tash and Courtney read a bilingual statement by Sin Barras in memory of Frank Alvarado.
"As we mourn Frank’s death and send warmth to his loved ones, we are thinking about how to address histories of racism, interpersonal, and state violence in a way that will move us toward a different society, where premature death doesn’t happen. All people, and particularly people who have experienced incarceration, need and deserve support. Because of criminalization, poverty, and tough-on-crime politicians and cops, law enforcement killing people of color has become a long-standing pattern. As an organization, we believe in holding individual people accountable for their actions, and that includes the police. But we see this as a problem that must be addressed collectively and on a systemic level. The police and prisons create cycles of trauma. These cops are not bad apples; they are taught to pull the trigger. If we want to stop the murder, we need to address the fact that police brutality is systemic and ongoing."
For more information, please see:
- Police Officers Kill Fourth Person in East Salinas: Frank Alvarado (July 2014)
- Peace Police and Counterinsurgency in Salinas (May 2014)
- Families, Residents and Statewide Supporters Fight for Justice in Salinas (May 2014)
Bradley Allen is a photographer, Indymedia volunteer, and website developer living in Santa Cruz, California. All content is free for non-commercial reuse, on non-commercial websites. For other use, please contact me. Photo credit and a link to this article is appreciated. Support local independent media.
Call the Cops - Rob Hustle ft. Liv
Rob Hustle, an independent hip-hop artist from Monterey, released a video on July 14, 2014 which takes a firm stand against police brutality. Rob writes, "My latest track exposes police violence and militarization, something that our community faces daily. If you agree with the message, please help spread the word."
Donations to Frank's Family for a Memorial Service
After hearing about Frank Alvarado's death, people started asking if they could donate money to help the family. In response Sin Barras, a Santa Cruz-based prison abolition group with a close relationship to Frank, has placed a PayPal button on their website. All money donated to Sin Barras will go directly to the family to fund a memorial service for Frank. To donate, you can visit the Sin Barras website and click the 'Donate button' in the left column: sinbarras.org
Sin Barras members are asking people to contribute whatever they can ... $5, $10, $50, every bit counts.
Frank's sister and niece expressed their love for Frank at the rally in East Salinas on July 12, 2014. They also thanked everyone who has given their support to the family as they grieve and fight for justice.
"I cannot thank you enough for the support and goodness that you have shown both my daughter and I. This was like drinking the strongest energy drink ever. When I thought I had to walk this road on my own in the dark, you came to light it up for me and show me that there is a voice and hand there to help. I am so happy to have met each one of you and am extremely thankful for your time, your prayers, and your support for my brother Frank Alvarado. Thank you again for your support. May the fight go on in order to change the injustices done. From Angelica Garza & Natalie Mendoza."