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    Posted October 22, 2015 by
    Santa Rosa, California

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    National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality: Andy Lopez


    October 22, 2015

    Santa Rosa, California.

    Two years ago, on National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, the cruel irony happened, 13 -year old child, Andy Lopez was gunned down by a sheriff deputy in Moorland, an impoverished part of Santa Rosa in trendy Sonoma County. Lopez was walking down the street with a toy gun that resembled an assault rifle.

    A small group of teens gathered yesterday at 'Antdy's Park', the open piece of land soon to be made a park in his memory, an open dirt lot where Andy played as a child and where he died as a teen. The teens have been using art to cope with the pain and they gathered with Jess Perez, one of the community activists for the Lopez cause and painted trash cans and a mural in anticipation for today's celebration of his life.

    Andy's mom, Mrs Cruz Lopez called local community radio station KBBF 89.1 FM in Santa Rosa on Wednesday to give a statement and exclusive interview in Spanish and said among other things: “Justicia no hay (there is no justice), laws are unjust, this case will remain as if someone killed a little mouse, they don't respect human rights; the community is the only one that has supported us.”

    When the host of the Roseland Report radio program mentioned that the difference between Andy's case and other national known cases is that there was no video that showed what happened; Cruz Lopez responded: “There were patrol cars dashboard cameras, there were neighbors' phone videos but the deputies confiscated them.” Lopez added, “The government is the powerful one (referring to local and Federal government), there is not much we can do, they sit down to laugh at the 'mischievous' things they do; to protest, is all that's left to do.” A picket line is scheduled outside the Sheriff's office for today at 4 pm.

    Sources say that deputies at the scene came asking if anyone had video of the shooting, one bystander had his cell phone on his hand and the deputy snatched it and said it was confiscated. When County Supervisor Efren Carrillo arrived on the scene, the bystander told Carrillo of the deputy snatching his phone, Carrillo pretended to listen for a bit and walked away.

    The Sonoma Sheriff department investigated itself and found no wrong doing; District Attorney Gill Ravitch did not file charges against deputy Erik Galhaus who fired eight times and hit Andy seven of them just seconds after spotting him. The handing of the case and investigations by the Sheriff and the DA caused a wave of protests by the community. The FBI hesitated on whether to conduct an investigation and was finally forced to do so due to a Federal lawsuit from the Lopez family. FBI concluded that there were no violations of Andy’s civil rights and refused to make the investigation's report a public record even when several news agencies asked them to.

    Ana Salgado, a family friend and an Andy's cause activist, reported that the Lopez family has since moved to Los Angeles due to the constant law enforcement harassment, “they would get pulled over all time and their car searched; just a couple of months ago, Andy's mom came from LA to pray at the makeshift shrine on Andy's birthday, some kids joined her to pray, wasn't long before the prayer got interrupted by a deputy who said he was looking for a tagger whose description matched one of the youth, Andy's mom got infuriated because even in prayer she was not left alone by law enforcement.” Salgado added, “I got this phone call telling me to come help Andy's mom because a deputy was trying to arrest her; I took a couple of other people with me, upon arrival there were at least three patrol cars surrounding the park, Andy's mom was yelling and the deputy was telling her that if she didn't stop yelling, he would arrest her. One of the gentlemen that came along told the deputy: 'how is it going to look you arresting Andy's mom while she was praying on his birthday?' The cop backed down.”

    “I think of the youth today, they get up and go to school, they tell me that they walk to school in fear, afraid that if they are carrying something in their hands, they might get shot,” said Cruz Lopez and she added: “I am ill emotionally, mentally and physically, that is why I have not been in the front lines with the community activists whom I thank very much; once I'm better, I intend to become an activist for just causes, specially for the youth.”

    Writers note: The Sheriff Department and the District Attorney were contacted for comment and as this article was being written, DA had not responded. Office of the Sheriff said he was not available.

    The photos were taken at the makeshift shrine at the soon to be Andy's Park where he was killed.
    Some youth want to come out to do the art painting but parents fear that law enforcement will profile them as gansters.
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