San Diego: Police Murder Leo Ibarra, Protesters Face Off with Police

By Nélida Tello

On Saturday, San Diego Police Department (SDPD) officers Jonathon Lucas and Tevar Zaki shot 25-year-old Leonardo Hurtado Ibarra, 11 times including once to the head, near the intersection of 6th Avenue and A Street in downtown San Diego around 5:45pm.

Leo Ibarra

Ibarra was a father of three, ages 4, 6, and 8. He was pronounced braindead Sunday, and was pronounced dead Monday night at UCSD Medical Center Hillcrest. At the time of the shooting SDPD refused to release any information regarding Ibarra- including his name, age, and the hospital he was taken to.

Officers Lucas and Zaki rushed Ibarra as he exited a building for allegedly resembling a man connected to a robbery that occurred earlier in the week. Upon seeing the officers, Ibarra headed in the opposite direction, dropped a plastic bag he was holding, and reached for his waistband at which point the officer approaching him from the street shouted “gun” signaling both officers to open fire. Ibarra immediately fell immobile to the ground, while the officers proceeded to shout “let me see your hands.” First handcuffing him, before performing CPR.

The SDPD claims that Ibarra pulled and pointed a revolver at the officers, however despite the multiple videos, it is unclear what Ibarra pulled from his waist. A wrapped-up camouflage bandana appears next to Ibarra’s body in the police officers’ body camera video. The only footage of the revolver are stills provided by SDPD showcasing the gun with the unwrapped bandana in the background. The two officers have been placed on paid leave until the investigation by the SDPD Homicide Unit and the FBI is concluded.

A memorial set up for Leo Ibarra near where police murdered him.

Activists held a press conference at the crime scene Saturday night where approximately 100 protesters joined. During the press conference one activist told the crowd that as long as the police kept shooting they had every right to arm themselves and shoot back. The press conference converged into a face off between protesters and the police.

Those in attendance demanded the police release the videos of the shooting. The crowd used the demonstration as an opportunity to agitate against the police crimes committed against the people of San Diego. Condemning the SDPD for running a sex trafficking ring, similar to the police in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Protesters confronted officer Alan Diemartin for false imprisonment, false arrest, battery, and planting evidence.

One man mocked the police for being afraid of water bottles when they are equipped with protective gear and weapons. One woman confronted an officer who lied in a police report and almost landed her husband life in prison. A police tire was slashed in the midst of the demonstration.

At one point the police officers were approached by two white soldiers who thanked them for their service. Protesters followed and confronted the soldiers when the police intervened as tensions escalated. The protest concluded at 2:30 am.

On Sunday, activists and protesters marched from the place Ibarra was shot by the police to the police headquarters at 1401 Broadway. At the police headquarters people demanded the tape be released as police guarded the building. In an unprecedented move, SDPD quickly released video of shooting Sunday evening in response to the consecutive demonstrations and the current political climate following the police murder of George Floyd.

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