Redwood Curtain CopWatch, based in the north coast of California, is part of a larger movement of self organized CopWatch groups throughout the US. Our local efforts seek to intervene in the drastic rise of the presence, militarization, and violence of the police, and build support networks based on self-determination, caring, and concrete needs.
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Federal Lawsuit Charges Sheriff’s Deputy Unconstitutionally Killed
The October 22 killing here of 13-year-old Andy Lopez by a hail of bullets from sheriff’s deputy Erick Gelhaus has resulted in daily peaceful marches, prayer vigils and speaking events honoring Lopez and calling for justice, as thousands in the northern California community continue to mourn and express outrage.
The killing has also this week led to a federal civil rights lawsuit being filed on behalf of the Lopez family. “There is a practice of using deadly force and covering it up by investigations that are superficial,” attorney Arnoldo Casillas said at a November 4 press conference in San Francisco, according to the daily Press Democrat. Casillas, who filed the suit, contends that the killing was unconstitutional because it violated the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which limits police authority.
Casillas interviewed witnesses who dispute law enforcement claims about the shooting. He asserts that the first shot was fired within three seconds of Gelhaus’s command to Lopez to drop what the sheriff's deputy claims he thought was a real gun. Seven bullets hit Lopez. One pierced his heart; at least one him him in the buttocks. Non-lethal alternatives were possible. The second deputy traveling with Gelhaus did not fire a single shot -- and did not even have time to step out of the vehicle before the boy's body lay fatally shot on the street.
Last year, Casillas won a $24 million dollar settlement for the family of a Los Angeles boy who was shot once and paralyzed by police while playing with an airsoft BB gun, similar to the one that Lopez was carrying to return to a friend when he was killed.
In a 2007 killing of African-American high school student Jeremiah Chass in the nearby town of Sebastopol, the Sheriff’s Office was compelled to pay a $1.75 million dollar settlement to the family. In both cases, investigations by outside police departments concluded that the cops were merely following protocol -- which too often seems to be “shoot first, ask questions later.”
But what is officially reported and what actually happens on the street may differ. That's why having next-door-neighbor law enforcement agencies investigate the killings is starting to look more and more like damage control than independent or objective reviews. More bluntly: are they amounting to cover-up investigations by law enforcement departments tasked with investigating each other?
Lopez Family and Others Speak Out
Below is a reportback from Skye, a participant this year. Verbena, of Redwood Curtain CopWatch, wrote the following 3 paragraphs only to fill in what Skye was not present for.
Sending love & comfort & solidarity to young Andy Lopez' spirit and his family & community. 13 year old Andy was killed by Santa Rosa deputies on Oct 22.
Bring warm clothes and any other warm stuff for folks who need it. Local call to action is below schedule.
Tuesday, Oct 22 18th NATIONAL DAY OF PROTEST
1:00pm Cesar Chavez Park (formerly 'Hammond Park' 14 & E, Eureka)
CONVERGE AND PREPARE FOR MARCH - with lunch
2:30pm starting from Cesar Chavez Park (14th & E, Eureka)
MARCH OF RESISTANCE TO POLICE BRUTALITY
6:00pm Carson Park (Carson & H, Eureka -on the Carson end)
MUSIC FOR THE PEOPLE- Live Concert, Dinner, Speak Out!
CANDLELIGHT WALK Honor The Victims And Survivors Of State Violence
10:00pm Cesar Chavez Park (14th & E, Eureka)
ALL NIGHT VIGIL To Protest the Criminalization of Sleep, with FILM SCREENING
Wednesday, Oct 23 MEMORIAL DAY FOR CHRISTOPHER BURGESS
midnite-3:00am Humboldt Courthouse/Jail
“WELCOME OUT!” Support People Released From Jail At Cold, Unfriendly Hours. Help distribute warm clothes, warm beverage, and a welcoming smile!
9:00am Clarke Plaza (3rd & E St., Eureka)
11:00am starting from Clarke Plaza (3rd & E St., Eureka)
MARCH through neighborhoods & to police stations.
March for Chris Burgess, murdered by Eureka Police Officer Oct 23, 2006.
4:00-7:00pm corner of Wabash & Broadway, Eureka
PROTEST & DINNER Stop the criminalization of youth!
Being young is NOT A CRIME! Stop the school-to-prison pipeline!
Days of Action Against Police Brutality Oct 22-23
See you there.
Oct 18, 2013 UN Official comes to Berkeley: LONG TERM SOLITARY CONFINEMENT VIOLATES INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS LAWSubmitted by copwatch on Mon, 10/14/2013 - 10:46pm
Video of the hearing can be viewed or downloaded at the California state channel archives:
Look for the title “Joint Informational Hearing on Segregation Policies in California Prisons” dated October 9, 2013. It is just about four hours long, so it’s a very big file and takes a long time to download.
Stay in strong solidarity! END Long Term Solitary Confinement. Stop the Torture.
Oct 18, 2013 UN Special Rapporteur on Torture comes to L.A. about SOLITARY CONFINEMENT IN CA PRISONSSubmitted by copwatch on Sun, 10/13/2013 - 10:17pm
Invitation to meeting on solitary confinement in CA prisons with