By David Martinez
On Tuesday, protesters marched from Cesar E. Chavez Memorial Park to a city-sponsored event held by the San Fernando Police Department (SFPD), to confront the police and demand justice for the police murder of Guillermo Amezcua. In an act of intimidation during the confrontation, the SFPD attacked the combative protesters and arrested one activist on false pretenses.
In April, Amezcua was shot at least 60 times by SFPD while sitting in his car in San Fernando, California. Officers pulled Amezcua’s lifeless body from the vehicle, leaving his corpse on the ground for twelve hours until the coroner could arrive. Since the shooting, a series of protests across the city have taken place, mobilizing community members against police brutality and SFPD’s refusal to hold their officers accountable for the death of 48-year-old Amezcua.
Amezcua, known to family and friends as “Memo”, was a father of eight and had twelve grandchildren. Tuesday’s protest, led by the Amezcua family and revolutionary organizations People’s Struggle San Fernando Valley (PSSFV), Serve the People Los Angeles (STPLA), and Oxnard Revolutionary Study Group (OxRevStudy), disrupted the ‘National Night Out’, an annual initiative held by SFPD to falsely portray themselves as servants of the community.
Protesters marched through the streets chanting, “The pigs who killed Memo? Fire them, lock them up!” and “How do you spell murderers? SFPD” before reaching the event. Standing against police, the crowd carried signs and banners listing off the Amezcua family’s demands.
Activists spoke on Amezcua’s story, the role of the police as agents of the ruling class, and the need to fight for justice outside of the legal system.
A speaker soon identified Jeffery Pak, one of the officers involved in Amezcua’s murder. It was brought to the crowd’s attention that Pak was known to taunt the victim’s children, bragging about his involvement in the murder of their father, stating “yeah, I shot your dad, so what?” In anger, the crowd rushed towards the officer who stood with a group of about a half dozen police. The outnumbered officers gathered back in formation as protesters pushed closer.
The crowd grew more combative, stepping face to face with police. In response, officers linked arms to maintain their line. A speaker with STPLA yelled out, “The people need food, housing, education, healthcare, but what do the pigs give us?” to which the crowd shouted back, “Nothing!”
Video posted by STPLA on social media clearly shows a visibly frustrated Pak lunge at the protesters as other police began to attack. Following the scuffle, Pak and another officer ran after one activist, detaining her in the precinct parking lot adjacent to the event. The activists has been falsely charged with “assault and battery against a peace officer”. Her supporters are raising money for her legal defense through an online fundraiser.
As police hurried the arrested activist into the precinct building, protesters surrounded the front entrance, demanding her release. Police gathered in formation, guarding the building as the crowd stood on in anger. Shortly after, police in riot gear began to appear to reinforce the police line.
The protesters left and eventually circled back to Cesar Chavez park, marching through the streets as a police helicopter hovered over head.
Following the protest, a member of STPLA spoke with Tribune, stating that despite experiencing their immense grief and suffering, the Amezcua family will continue to fight to demand justice.
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