Justice for Andy Lopez Cruz! [link]Free David Douglass! [link]
The Arrest of Ramon Cairo [link], a statement from L@s Autonomous Brown Berets of Sonoma County [link], with the facts surrounding the false charges against Ramon.
Update: Ramon Cairo is Free! The Santa Rosa Police Department could not prove any of it's charges against Ramon, and the court hearing ended in a mistrial! From a May 9th statement by the "Justice Coalition for Andy Lopez":
"Friday morning May 9th at 8:30 am in courtroom #8 in Sonoma County – the DA declined to refile criminal charges against Lopez protest leader Ramon Cairo. The DA’s decision followed three days of deliberations in which the vast majority of jurors found the State’s star witness – a Sergeant on the Santa Rosa Police Department – to be not credible. Caught on the stand mouthing three versions of the alleged assault on his forehead – the jury rejected his tangled web of misstatements and outright lies. The judge was left with no choice but to dismiss the charges and declare Ramon Cairo a free man, upholding the First Amendment rights of Lopez protesters."
Statement from the "Brown Berets De Sonoma County" (2014-05-07), before the verdict was announced: "Today, we wait for the verdict on comrade Ramón's trial(one of our Beret members), from being arrested at the December 10th Andy Lopez march when we went through a Santa Rosa city council meeting (who completely avoided us). We still openly maintain that this [Amerikkkan just-us] system continues to uphold its systemic institutionalized oppression while in advancement of its national interests, and then as usual turn around (and acknowledge us the disenfranchised) and tell us they (the privileged) are completely free of committing injustices because (as the Amerikkkan way is) they where acting 'in their right, in self defence (although a provoked situation) and legally.' In institutionalized oppression, the institution is the tool used for the self preservation of the privileged."
Ramon Cairo writes concerning the trial: "I chose to take on the Amerikkkan JustUs System, because
1) I am not guilty of said allegations. I have a Right (not 'privilege') to voice my Political Dissent and Opposing Views concerning how my local government is run, and its Incompetent Leadership and
2) All 5 Officers who testified against me Outright Lied, Slandered My Name, and work for an entity that has proactively and systematically murdered Our Gente, and brought this Genocidal Attitude to Our Communities. The same Attitudes that have led to hundreds of Our People to be Slaughtered in Our Streets, while these Murderers with Badges continue to Kill Us with Impunity.
Fuck That! This Shit Stops Now, y Ya Basta! NO JUSTICE, NO PEACE. FUCK ALL POLICE".
Ramon Cairo, with daughter Mayra Canto, awaiting the court verdict, May 6th.
According to attorney John Melrod, character witness for Ramon Cairo during the trial, the star police witness for the prosecution, a Sergeant on the Santa Rosa Police Department, had provided testimony describing THREE different versions of the events leading to Ramon Cairo's arrest. During the trial, the jury was told that the protesters were allegedly acting like a mob, alluding to potentially violent actions which could have erupted, all under the direction of Ramon Cairo. Video evidence showed, however, that the protesters were not being violent, and that Ramon Cairo was being a disciplined coordinator of the march and rally. After the conclusion of the trial,a juror related to John Melrod that the evident contradiction between the police testimony and the video footage was what lead to the hung jury, in favor of acquitting Ramon Cairo of all charges.
"Trial of Lopez Protestor Ramon Cairo to Conclude in Santa Rosa Monday Morning"
2014-05-03 from "Justice Coalition for Andy Lopez":
After two days of often riveting testimony by Santa Rosa police officers, the trial of Lopez protestor Ramon Cairo will wrap up and go to the jury on Monday afternoon. The trial will reconvene in Courtroom #8 at 1:30 with the final cross examination of Sgt. Conner, one of the arresting officers who claims to have been assaulted as police blocked the entrance to the Santa Rosa City Council on December 10, 2013.
150 – 200 demonstrators, many of them young people affiliated with Andy’s Youth, attempted to enter the City Council meeting carrying 56 white crosses memorializing individuals who died in Sonoma County since 2000 in police-involved incidents. 56 young people carrying crosses with the names of the deceased on them led the silent crowd. When the protestors reached the entrance to the City Hall Chambers, a wall of Santa Rosa police officers claiming they couldn’t enter while carrying the crosses blocked their entry.
A verbal exchange ensued in which the protestors asserted their Constitutional rights to assembly and free speech guaranteed them entry into the chambers. In the course of that exchange Sgt. Conner, who will be testifying at 1:30 claims to have suffered an approximately 1 inch wound across his forehead. As a consequence, one of the protest leaders, Ramon Cairo, was later wrestled to the ground and arrested for felony assault.
After viewing video of the encounter, a Sonoma County judge reduced the felony charge to a misdemeanor for lack of sufficient evidence to justify a felony charge. Regardless, Mr. Cairo faces the possibility of a year in jail if the jury finds him guilty. To see this video click on link below.
After Sgt. Conner, Defense Attorney Izaak Schwaeger, will call Jonathan Melrod, Justice Coalition for Andy Lopez activist and Sebastopol attorney to the stand to rebut the testimony of the 5 officers so far called to testify by the Prosecution.
"Footage: 2013 Protest of Andy Lopez Shooting at Santa Rosa City Council"
2014-05-01 from "Press Democrat" monopolist newspaper [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=38KIrBPFr9k]: Video taken by a witness to a Dec. 10, 2013, protest at Santa Rosa City Hall over the fatal shooting of Andy Lopez by a Sonoma County sheriff's deputy. The video was scheduled to be introduced as evidence in the trial of protester Ramon Cairo.
"Cops arrest anti-police brutality protesters in Santa Rosa; Youth demand justice for Andy Lopez, and end to police killings"
2013-12-18 text from "Liberation News", photos 2013-12-10 from "Justice Coalition for Andy Lopez" [http://www.answercoalition.org/national/news/cops-arrest-protesters-andy-lopez.html]:
Update: As this article was being prepared for posting on Dec. 16, Ramon Cairo’s bail was increased to $45,000, and an additional charge was added.
Ramon Cairo (with bullhorn) leading the way to Santa Rosa city hall -
Protesters with crosses waiting to get into Santa Rosa City Hall -
Inside the Santa Rosa City Council meeting, after half the council members had fled -
On Oct. 22, in Santa Rosa, Calif., Sonoma County Deputy Sheriff Erich Gelhaus screamed at 13-year-old Andy Lopez, telling him to drop his “weapon,” a toy gun. Within five seconds Gelhaus shot seven bullets into Lopez, killing him. Then, Gelhaus handcuffed the boy's body and evacuated the scene rather than get medical attention for Lopez. All of this is acknowledged by both the Sonoma County Sheriff's Department and the Santa Rosa Police Department.
“Right now, there's nothing screaming at us that [Gelhaus] violated any policy,” was the candid admission of Assistant Sheriff Lorenzo Dueñas, as he announced, on Dec. 6, that Gelhaus would return to work. Duenas's assessment was based on a report on a supposedly ongoing investigation by the SRPD. Included in the report was a comparison of Lopez's toy gun with a real AK-47 to “prove” to the public how much they look alike. Gelhaus did what law enforcement in this country is supposed to do: he terrorized a working class community of color.
In response to Duenas's announcement, a new demonstration was called for Dec. 10 by the Justice Coalition for Andy Lopez. This coalition has been leading the youth of Santa Rosa in weekly demonstrations that have forced the SRPD to release Gelhaus's name and have pressured the City Counsel to embrace a plan to turn the vacant lot in which Lopez died into a city park named after him. On Dec. 10, people gathered outside the Santa Rosa City Council building to demand they be heard. The City Council has been under a de facto gag order by the City Manager and City Attorney not to discuss Lopez's killing since it occurred.
Justice Coalition member Ramon Cairo had suggested that the protesters carry 57 crosses, representing each victim of Sonoma County law enforcement since 2000. Each cross had a note on it listing the name of the victim it represented and a short description of the circumstances of that person's death. As the protesters approached the City Council building with the crosses, SRPD surrounded the building and started pushing and menacing the marchers, but protesters from the Justice Coalition for Andy Lopez and the ANSWER Coalition (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) were able to enter the buliding.
Police arrest protest organizer -
As the protesters reached the City Council, about half of the city's elected representatives fled. The other half stayed and expressed their condolences for Lopez's death and their understanding of the protesters' concerns. As the crowd peacefully marched out of the building, the Santa Rosa cops again blocked the doors and then tackled Cairo. Outraged, the crowd again forced their way past the cops, into the building, chanting, “Let him go!” as the cops roughed up Cairo, who was later taken away.
The entire crowd then marched over a mile-and-a-half to the Santa Rosa police station to support Cairo. The people were greeted by two units of riot cops sporting grenade launchers and growling dogs. The cops declared the protest an “unlawful assembly,” a veiled threat of brutality against the public. Much of the crowd, understanding the danger posed by the cops, dispersed. But some protesters marched to the Sheriff's department, followed by cops. The bullying tactics of the SRPD became ever more violent. The final group of protesters decided on a tactical retreat, but this did not stop the police from randomly arresting Jose Godoy as he was driving away from the protest.
The struggle for justice for Andy Lopez will continue. Jailhouse for Gelhaus!
"2 Arrested In Protests Over Fatal Shooting Of Santa Rosa Teen"
2013-12-10 by Chris Filippi from "KCBS / KPIX 5" [http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2013/12/10/santa-rosa-police-clash-with-andy-lopez-marchers-arrests-made/]:
Protesters upset over the fatal shooting of Andy Lopez held up crosses during a protest at Santa Rosa City Hall on December 10, 2013. (Photo from CBS)
SANTA ROSA — Protesters rallying against a Sonoma County sheriff’s deputy who fatally shot a 13-year-old boy clashed with police in riot gear in front of Santa Rosa City Hall Tuesday evening.
Two people were arrested after marched gathered to protest the deputy’s return to work this week.
Sheriff’s Deputy Erick Gelhaus shot and killed Andy Lopez, who was carrying a replica gun, in late October. The deputy claimed that he thought the gun was an assault rifle.
The protest began with a group of around 100 protesters gathered in front of City Hall, some carrying white crosses that stood about two to three-feet high. The crosses were said to represent the victims of killings at the hands of Sonoma County law enforcement since the year 2000.
When the protesters attempted to enter the scheduled city council meeting, they were met by police and were told they couldn’t enter the building with their crosses because they did not conform to city code.
“They said we still couldn’t come in and started pushing the crowd. And as they started pushing these guys, I snuck around the side and the cop stomped on my foot as I was getting past him,” said Stacy Sycheff, a protester.
A shoving match with police ensued when protesters refused to relent. One demonstrator allegedly hit a police officer in the head with a wooden signpost and another allegedly hit an officer in the face. The two officers had minor injuries.
A recess was called at the City Council meeting and the protesters were allowed to enter. Police arrested a protester there on suspicion of hitting the officer with a signpost. He was identified as Ramon Cairo of Santa Rosa and was booked into Sonoma County Jail on suspicion of assaulting a police officer, police said.
Demonstrators then began to march on Sonoma Avenue, stopping traffic, en route to the police department where they demanded the release of the man arrested.
Deputies made one arrest for suspicion of violation of probation and obstructing a police officer. That person was identified by the sheriff’s office as Jose Godoy, 24, of Santa Rosa. He was stopped leaving the scene in a vehicle and booked into jail, the sheriff’s office said.
Gelhaus, the sheriff’s deputy in question, is not on patrol and is instead working a desk job for the time being. This after receiving paid-administrative leave. Lopez was shot multiple times by Gelhaus after being stopped by police who thought his Airsoft rifle was an AK-47.
Protesters said they want the deputy arrested, as well as an outside investigation into the incident that claimed Lopez’s life.
“We can’t have the police investigating the police and the sheriff investigating the sheriff. We need an outside professional investigation team to get the root of the matter,” protester Norma Baumsteiger told KPIX 5.
Marchers eventually ended up at the Sonoma County sheriff’s office. The protest ended peacefully Tuesday night with no further incidents reported.
“Calif. city finds some success against gang problem”
2008-07-28 by Sandra Yi [http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=3880572]:
[ … ] Ramon Cairo, 25, is a success story. Raised by drug dealers and gang members, Cairo was 10 years old when he was initiated into a gang. "I got jumped in right in that park, as a matter of fact," he said. Cairo has been in and out of jail and prison for half his life. He took us to his old neighborhood. "All the dope that was sold on these corners came from me," he told us.
Three years ago, Cairo had had enough. With help from a city-sponsored program, Cairo got an education and now works as a plumber. "I just felt like my whole life had been drained from me. I wanted to be a dad. I wanted to take my little girl to the park and do normal things. You know what I mean?" he said. [ … ]