East LA advances fight for community control over sheriffs
East Los Angeles, CA – On May 27, East LA residents, impacted family members, and supporters united against the new formation of two separate deputy gangs in the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department as well as the vicious escalation in deputy-involved killings.
Centro CSO, an organization that fights against police crimes in Boyle Height and East LA, called the protest to pressure new head Sheriff Robert Luna, who has been in office for six months, to fulfill his election promise to eradicate the deputy gangs.
Opening the event, Avery Raimondo with Centro CSO’s Police Accountability Committee spoke about the need for community control of the LASD to defeat the deputy gangs. Raimondo said, “LASD operates outside of oversight and democratic control. The people of East Los Angeles and LA County must have power in order to transform the sheriff’s department and stop these killings.”
After Raimondo, Joseph Williams from Black Lives Matter-LA and Helen Jones of Dignity Power Now spoke about the need to hold LA Sheriff Robert Luna accountable.
Chanting, “If we don’t get no justice, then they don’t get no peace” and “LASD means we got to fight back,” Luis Sifuentes led the marchers from the intersection of Mednik Avenue and 3rd Street to the East LA Sheriff’s station. There, attendees heard from the families of Paul Rea, Frederick Holder and David Ordaz Jr.
“People like to think that in a state like California, where weed is allegedly legal, you’re safe to smoke it. But that’s what got Chicano Paul Rea killed,” said Sol Márquez of CSO and Freedom Road Socialist Organization. “Deputies from this station used it as an excuse to shoot him over four times and take his life!”
The event proceeded despite the sheriffs blocking the protesters from nearing the station with barricades and deputy vehicles. At one point, the family of Paul Rea reminded the deputies of the retaliatory attempt to silence a family member by arresting and removing them from the public eye. For hours their whereabouts were unknown, and the family has since filed a lawsuit against the station.
“We will not stop fighting for justice for Paul,” said Leah Garcia, mother of Paul Rea. “And so many others that had their lives stolen from them forever. We will be Paul’s voice.”
Next plans for CSO are to unite with impacted families like David Ordaz Jr.’s to create a petition that would inform East LA residents of the presence of sheriff’s deputy gangs as well as demand that the LA Board of Supervisors and LASD take action to eradicate them. Stay tuned for the petition.
If you’d like to join the CSO Police Accountability Committee, reach out to them at (323) 484-8630 [email protected] or @CentroCSO on social media.