Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Family of Yanira Serrano Marches in Response to DA's Decision Not to Indict Deputy Trieu

The family of Yanira Serrano held a rally and march in Half Moon Bay on September 6 in reaction to District Attorney Stephen M. Wagstaffe's decision not to indict San Mateo County Sheriff's deputy Menh Trieu for killing Yanira on June 3 outside of her home in Moonridge. In attendance and marching were Yanira's parents, brother, grandmother and uncle, and speakers at the rally included a group of religious leaders from a variety of faiths. Attorney Jonathan Melrod spoke on behalf of the Serrano family, filed a lawsuit against the San Mateo County Sheriff's office threed days after the demonstration.

The march began at the Half Moon Bay fire station and made its way through the downtown and on to the sheriff's station.

The group recited a number of march chants as they walked, including: "DA says exonerate, we say indict," "mental health is not a crime," "Half Moon Bay, Ferguson, same struggle, same fight," and "racist cops off our streets."

"Hands up, don't shoot" was chanted in both english and spanish while people marched and held their hands up.

When the group made its way past Our Lady of the Pillar Church, Father Juan Manuel Lopez, who presided over Yanira's funeral, spoke and thanked everyone for participating.

"It is very important that you are on the streets letting them know that it is very important for them to treat people who need special care with very special care," he said. "You better know where they are and who they are so they will know and they will not just send anybody."

In a letter dated August 18, District Attorney Wagstaffe announced he had determined the killing of Yanira to be "legally justifiable" when Trieu killed her on June 3. Yanira's family called authorities that evening because Yanira, who was schizophrenic, was acting up. She took possession of a kitchen knife, and when Trieu encountered her, he felt threatened by her.

Wagstaffe's letter claims the killing occurred within 30 seconds of Trieu's arrival on the scene, which contradicts the San Mateo Sheriff's initial statement in June that the period of time was 20 seconds.

The DA's letter states that Trieu attempted for about 10 seconds to retreat from Yanira before he shot her, and the reason he used his gun was because he did not have time to use his taser.

"Deputy Trieu later informed inspectors that he did not believe that he could have used less than lethal force on Ms. Serrano-Garcia. He advised the inspectors that because she was closing the distance between them so quickly, he would not have the time to unsnap and unbuckle his taser from its holster in time to deploy it," the letter states.

The Serrano family with religious leaders

Yanira's father looks on as Vaughn Harrison of Coastside Jewish Communities speaks

Yanira's mother, Carmen Garcia Serrano

Yanira's grandmother raises her hand during a "Hands up, don't shoot" chant
Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant Rights

Catholic Worker of Half Moon Bay

"Hands Up" in front of the sheriff's station

Father Juan Manuel Lopez

Attorney Jonathan Melrod

No comments: