Fight Back! News

News and Views from the People's Struggle

Boyle Heights demands justice for Jesse Romero on second anniversary of slaying by LAPD

By Carlos Montes

LA protest on second anniversary of Jesse Romero killing by LAPD.

Los Angeles, CA – Two years after the LAPD killing of 14-year-old student Jesse Romero, the Boyle Heights community united to demand “Justice for Jesse.” About 50 people gathered at the intersection of Breed Street and César E. Chávez Boulevard, the site where Romero was killed, to hold a vigil and protest. Throughout the day, a national call-in day was held to demand L.A. District Attorney Jackie Lacey jail and prosecute killer cops.

On August 9, 2016, during rush hour, LAPD officer Eden Medina and another cop chased Jesse Romero from an apartment complex after an alleged graffiti tip. Medina chased Romero through César E. Chávez Boulevard for less than a block and, upon nearing the corner of Breed Street, shot him. Cars and pedestrians breezed by since it was the middle of rush hour.

Three witnesses say that Jesse was shot and killed while unarmed. Body cam footage was recently obtained by the Romero’s lawyer, Humber Guizar, in which Medina is observed beating his chest out of pride that he killed another person. Only 12 days earlier, Medina had shot and killed another Chicano young man named Omar Gonzalez. The footage from Romero’s killing showed that no first aid was ever administered or even called upon; and LAPD officers forcefully flipped Romero’s lifeless body onto the cement face down, and then handcuffed him.

The vigil was organized by Centro CSO (Community Service Organization), which has led the fight against the nine LAPD killings in Boyle Heights since 2016. Centro CSO has united families and community to demand jail for killer cops. Among those gathered were Jesse’s parents Teresa Dominguez, Jose Romero, their lawyer Humberto Guizar, Black Lives Matter-L.A., Latino Equality Alliance, March & Rally Los Angeles, Catholic Worker, and Freedom Road Socialist Organization. Also joining the event were other families who lost loved ones to killer cops and sheriffs, including the families of Jose Mendez, Edwin Rodriguez, Eric River, Johnny Anderson, Cesar Rodriguez and Christian Escobedo.

During the event lawyer Huizar said, “I grew up in the streets. I too was a gang member and I was shot. Let me tell you that it’s extremely painful to be shot. Listening to testimonies today from other parents who have also lost their children in similar ways as Jesse, and hearing that Edwin Rodriguez was shot 19 times is shameful. 19! If that isn’t a massacre, I don’t know what else to call it.”

Chants led by Centro CSO member Emily Hubbard included, “What do we want? Justice! For who? Jesse Romero! When do we want it? Now!” and “Say his name! Jesse Romero!”

Speaking on behalf of Freedom Road Socialist Organization Sol Marquez said, “These police killings are not isolated cases. We should regard them as extensions of national oppression against Chicanos and our Black sisters and brothers. We must unite in denouncing these killings, demand jailing of killer cops, but also freedom against this oppression. We need a revolution and it won’t happen unless we’re tired of being treated this way.”

A pre-trial hearing rally will be organized by Centro CSO around October. Organizers ask that you stay connected with them through [email protected] or by calling or texting 323-943-2030.

#LosAngelesCA #CentroCSO #JesseRomero