Tags: US | Fatal | Police | Shooting | Rally

Los Angeles Activists to Protest Police Shooting

Saturday, 18 Sep 2010 07:54 AM


LOS ANGELES (AP) — Activist groups are planning a rally Saturday to protest the recent police shooting of a Guatemalan day laborer whose death sparked several nights of violent street demonstrations.

Manuel Jaminez, 37, was shot in the head Sept. 5 after a brief confrontation with three bicycle-riding Los Angeles police officers on a street corner in a largely Latino shopping area just west of downtown.

Police said Jaminez was drunk and had attempted to stab passers-by, including a pregnant woman, and ignored commands to drop a knife.

Some residents said the fatal shooting seemed a disproportionate use of force and officers should have been able to disarm Jaminez without killing him.

His death sparked several nights of vigils and protests that at times turned violent. Police officials were taken aback that the shooting, which appeared to them to be easily justifiable, could cause so much anger and they blamed outside activists for stirring up resentment.

On their permit application, organizers of Saturday's rally estimated about 3,000 people would attend.

The march is scheduled to get under way at 10 a.m. at the spot Jaminez died and will pass the Rampart police station before winding its way to MacArthur Park, the site of a now infamous police response to a 2007 immigration rally where officers used batons to hit demonstrators and fired rubber bullets into the crowd, injuring dozens of people.

The surrounding Westlake neighborhood has become a densely packed enclave of Central American immigrants fleeing brutal civil wars and grinding poverty in their home countries.

On one of the nights following Jaminez's death, protesters gathered outside the police station and pelted officers with eggs, rocks and bottles and set a trash bin on fire. Police made 22 arrests.

Several investigations are ongoing into the shooting and one eyewitness has come forward and disputed the police version of events, saying Jaminez had nothing in his hands when Officer Frank Hernandez shot him.

Activists behind Saturday's rally want Hernandez to be the subject of a criminal investigation by the district attorney.

The LAPD's officer union has condemned the activists as "agitators who masquerade around as concerned citizens" and said it is confident all reviews will find Hernandez acted appropriately.

The shooting sparked the first major crisis for Chief Charlie Beck, who succeeded William Bratton in November.

Beck held a community meeting two days after the shooting and was jeered and booed by attendees.

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