Monday, November 7, 2011

What do you make of this?...

The following request for support appeared in my inbox last night. I find it upsetting for many reasons, in particular: the assumption PD must have done something wrong, the expectation that people would blindly protest something they don't (can't) have any real information about, and the scattered, illogical narrative. What do you make of this?...

On 11/6/2011 8:37 PM, [name removed] wrote:
The family of Andres Avila, a 26 year old student and activist at Mt. SAC was shot and killed by Pomona Police on October 16th at 8:40 am. The family says he was asleep in his car with his girlfriend when he was approached and shot by a Pomona police officer. The family was not contacted for several hours after the shooting. Witnesses said that the officer who shot Andres was the same officer that Andres had filed a complaint against for use of excessive force in early July when the officer used a taser on Andres while he was handcuffed on the ground. The official police comment was that Andres was being uncooperative, and therefore he was shot and killed.

Tomorrow evening, Monday November 7th at Pomona City Hall the family of Andres will be speaking at the city hall meeting, asking for an investigation into Andres' death by a neutral party. They will be putting pressure on the Pomona Police Dept. and attempting to garner support for Andres to prevent the incident from being swept under the rug.

The family is asking for support at the city hall council meeting TOMORROW NOV 7th at 6PM. If there is not sufficient support, the investigation will most likely be dropped. Please Please Please let me know if you can go to support the family and please forward this email widely. Pomona City Hall is located at the corner of Garey and Mission in pomona.

We need to support our local community. Thank you


meg said...

I got the same appeal and had pretty much the same reaction. Except that, predictably, I was stopped short by what I assume is a major grammatical error in the opening line. Unless Avila's family, not the man himself, was shot by the po-po.

Does anyone have more info? Y'all know that I'm a bed-wetting bolshevik, but this appeal raises more questions than it does support.

John Clifford said...

I was at the council meeting last night to support the public arts plan. The Avila's attorney and family and friends were there (along with four TV news crews from what looked to be Spanish language stations). They spoke during public comment to appeal to the city council to bring in Federal investigators to look into the shooting of the young man on Oct. 16.

From the comments it appears that:
* Andy Avila and his girlfriend were asleep in a car parked on a city street
* Andy was shot by a PPD officer
* Andy had previously, on July 4 been tazered by PPD
* The family wasn't notified of the death, and still haven't had an official notification, but learned of it from TV reports.
* LA Sheriffs are investigating the shooting.

Of course there was no comment from the police or city attorney because it's an ongoing investigation, so last night was a one-sided oration.

The council has asked to be updated in two weeks during their next closed session.

Cristina Carizossa promised to work to get a Federal investigation to look into the death.

John Clifford said...

The second bullet point should say:
* Andy was shot and killed by a PPD officer who alleged that he posed a threat.

Skrip said...

The story I've heard was that he & his girlfriend were asleep on Holt Ave at 4:00am after partying or something. And he has some kind of previous history with crime/arrests.

That's still not to say he should of been shot, but who knows, having a previous history is not helpful. And again, why would you fall asleep on HOLT avenue out of all the quiet streets you could have chosen?

He posed some kind of threat or was violent towards the police officer was the reason I also heard.

That's what I heard from someone, so I'm not stating this info as fact.

We'll have to wait for more info.


meg said...

I've heard two different versions of events:
1. He was sleeping in the car with his girlfriend, who lives with her family at the hotel behind which they were parked and he was shot without cause, because he and the shooting officer had a history, and
2. He and his girlfriend were carrying on (as my mother would say) in the car and that he became violent upon being interrupted by the cop.

My biggest fear is that we'll never get beyond the they-say-they-say versions -- that when (and if) the facts are ascertained, the public won't be informed of it, for fear of affecting the civil suit.

Pride in Garfield Park said...

There was an "officer related shooting" on our block a couple years ago. A third-party investigation began IMMEDIATELY (as in the tape went up and the sheriff rolled in). I believe the third party investigation is protocol, and any officer would know that. The story we're hearing is just so illogical. And, of course, it's all a bunch of hearsay at this point, augmented with understandably intense emotions in a national context where police do sometimes overstep. My heart goes out to the family, the police department, and our community.

John Clifford said...

Yes, it was stated that the Sheriffs are automatically called in to investigate whenever there is an officer involved shooting that results in a death. This is policy so that it's not the PPD investigating itself. That's one of the reasons that there is so little known, because the Sheriffs are not coming forward with info.

The family and their attorney are untrusting of the Sheriff's department as they have also been involved in a series of scandals including the recent revelations of misconduct at the jails.

calwatch said...

I don't see this as unreasonable and disagree with PIGP that it was somehow "illogical". Look, these individuals list a loved one. Stuff has been swept under the rug. In Fullerton, without the work of the Friends for Fullerton's Future, working in conjunction with Ron Thomas, it is likely that no charges would have been filed in the death of Kelly Thomas. What FPD's spokesperson (and union leader, ie conflict of interest) called a "tussle" turned out to be a savage intentional beating. Or look at Doug Zirbe in Long Beach, a drunk man who pointed a water nozzle in the wrong direction and was gunned down without warning.

We should really be more sensitive to the family, regardless of the past record of the individual. I don't know if Pomona PD made any claims, but they should not be making statements that contradict with fact. The PD should disclose whether the officers are still on the beat or have been administratively reassigned. Also based on the facts of the situation, the FBI could be called to initiate a civil right investigation... That would be appropriate for one of the elected officials to do. I don't think this rises to the above cases but having the family there, with supporters, does keep the pressure on to do a thorough investigation and minimizes the temptation that someone might cover things up, as one of the council members in Fullerton stated occurred (initial statements from PD differed radically from what the DA presented when he charged the officer responsible for Kelly Thomas's death).

Skrip said...

Good point Calwatch!