Thursday, November 21, 2013

Jailhouse for Gelhaus March

The family of Andy Lopez, the 13-year-old killed by Sonoma County Sheriff's Deputy Erick Gelhaus on October 22, marched with supporters from downtown Santa Rosa to the Sonoma County Hall of Justice on November 5. They are demanding an independent investigation be conducted into the killing of Andy, and that District Attorney Jill Ravitch arrest Gelhaus immediately. The family and supporters also want the location of Andy's killing, an empty lot on Moorland Avenue, to be turned into a memorial park in his honor. [Videos: a representative of the Lopez family speaks after meeting with the Sonoma County District Attorney; Friend of Andy Lopez; Youth Speak; David Douglass of BAMN; Oscar Grant Family Attorney John Burris; Christina Arechiga of the CA Statewide Coalition Against Police Brutality; Kris Kelley, Sister of Mario Romero; Cyndi Mitchell, Sister of Mario Romero; I Am Andy Lopez Mic Check; Jordan of the Chickenfoot Ranch and Activist Center.]

Marchers followed a truck with an effigy of Gelhaus shackled in hand cuffs mounted on it. The Hall of Justice was heavily guarded by Sonoma County Sheriffs when the group arrived, but several organizers, including a representative of the Lopez family, went inside to meet with the District Attorney privately.

In addition to calling for a grand jury investigation into the shooting, community members say they are conducting their own investigation. They say sheriffs should have known that the possibility of children playing with toy guns existed in that neighborhood. They claim authorities were warned the day before Andy was shot about children playing with toy guns at the same lot where Andy was killed by Gelhaus.

More demonstrations seeking justice for Andy Lopez are planned. Community members will protest at a campaign fundraiser for District Attorney Ravitch's re-election on December 3 at 4:30pm at the Santa Rosa Veterans Memorial Building. A protest during Thanksgiving vacation is also being planned so that the area's youth won't have to skip school to attend.

Cindy Sheehan

Sonoma County Hall of Justice

Sujey Cruz and Rodrigo Lopez, parents of Andy Lopez.

Effigy of Erick Gelhaus

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