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(en) US, Protesters confront Mesa Police Department over officer shooting

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Wed, 24 Nov 2004 10:39:38 +0100 (CET)

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Approximately twenty people participated in a protest against the
recent murders by Mesa Police officers on the evening of November 20th.
Individuals, family members of Mario Madrigal Jr., members of
Phoenix Copwatch, Women in Black, and Phoenix Anarchist
Coalition stood in front of the Mesa Police Department holding
signs and candles for about a half hour before marching down
Robson to stand and be more visible at Main Street. Some
passersby briefly joined the demonstration, and drivers honked
their horns in support. The march continued on to Country Club,
where signs were held for a while longer before the march
returned to the Police Station. A banner read, "Stop Police
Brutality. Copwatch," and other signs including "Hold Killer Cops
Accountable," and "Smash the Police State," were held. At the
police station, protesters held signs and the banner at the front
entrance while chanting. Some of the chants included "What do
we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now!" "What is the
Enemy? Police brutality!" and "Justice for Mario."

Mario Madrigal Jr. was shot by the Mesa Police Department late
August 2003. His murder was especially controversial because he
was only fifteen years old and his parents, who were witnesses,
maintain that he was not a threat to the three officers who shot
him several times. Within a couple weeks, the Mesa Police shot
three others, killing one, Marianne Minchew, 23.

In early November of this year, three people were shot within one
week. Todd Michael Roberson, 44, was killed on November 2nd
allegedly because he had an object that the police say looked like a
gun. Officers David Foster, Brian Brandon, Brian Jutting, and
Donald William were reported to have been involved.

On November 9th, Oscar Bobby Grey, 18, and Keven Olivas, 21,
were shot after being pulled over by the police for allegedly
stealing beer. Officer Jerald Ray shot two rounds into their car.
The driver, Grey, survived, but Olivas, who was shot in the head,
did not. According to the Arizona Republic, a police spokesman
said, "Officer Ray feared for Officer Dankanich's safety because of
the motion of the vehicle, the driver's movements and the sound
of the revving engine from the vehicle." Doubts arise about the
officers' sides of the story because of information from witnesses
and people who are familiar with the car and the driver.

Earlier this year, the Mesa Police murdered Christopher Salcedo
on May 9th, and Saul Arrieta on May 12th. Also, Milton
Francisco Salazar died on July 23rd from cardiac arrest directly
linked with being tasered by Mesa Police a few days earlier.

After the deaths of Mario Madrigal Jr. and Marianne Minchew,
there were several protests as well. One of the demands of the
protesters was that there be a civilian review board that would
investigate crimes committed by the Mesa Police. Instead, over a
year later, it was just announced that a use-of-force review board
will have only two civilians on it and they cannot vote on anything.
Objections to having a civilian review board or a board where
civilians can have any decision making power was based on a fear
that lawsuits and division of the community could result.
Meanwhile, Mesa faces at least one lawsuit by the Madrigal
family and possibly more by others.

Many people believe that it doesn't make sense to have
government employees murdering civilians, government
employees investigating those murders, and government
employees making decisions and judgments on the murderers.
Police officers make mistakes, yet rarely if ever are they found
guilty and punished for stealing lives away from others.

Community members continue to be committed to the struggle
against police brutality and an end to execution by officer.

Link: http://www.phoenixanarchist.org

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