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Boyle Heights demands Justice for Jesse Romero

14-year-old killed by LAPD
By staff |
August 12, 2016
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Carlos Montes speaks about police killings of Chicano's in Boyle Heights
Carlos Montes speaks about police killings of Chicano's in Boyle Heights (Fight Back! News/Staff)
Family of Romero standing behind Justice 4 Jesse/Stop Police Killings banner
Family of Jesse Romero standing behind a Justice 4 Jesse; Stop Police Killings banner

Los Angeles, CA - On the evening of Aug. 10, hundreds gathered in the heart of Boyle Heights at Breed Street and Cesar Chavez Avenue, demanding justice for Jesse Romero. 14-year-old Jesse Romero was gunned down by LAPD on evening of Aug. 9. The LAPD initiated the incident due to graffiti. Jesse Romero was the fifth person, and second child, murdered by LAPD in Boyle Heights this year. He was the 12th person this year in Los Angeles to be murdered by LAPD.

The family of Romero called for a vigil to support their son. The family asked Centro CSO (Community Service Organization) to join them and help organize for justice. CSO is organizing against police killings in Boyle Heights. Hundreds of neighbors and supporters came to the site. The families of other police abuse victims also joined with the family of Jesse Romero.

As people showed up, the anger intensified. LAPD continued to drive by to scope out the protesters. The crowd angrily chanted, “Asesinos! Asesinos!” at them. Anger grew as a police helicopter hovered overhead. The crowd kept chanting, “El pueblo unido, jamas sera vencido!” and “What do we want? Justice! For who? Jesse!”

On Feb. 14, 2016 Edwin Rodriguez was shot to death by LA Sheriffs. His mother Estela Rodriguez has continued to fight for her son and joined the protest. “I can’t sit at home drowning in my pain waiting for justice to happen,” Estela Rodriguez says. “I decided to join with the Jesse Romero family in demanding justice because these killings have to stop. We have a duty as mothers, as parents, to always fight for our children, and this fight sometimes has to happen in the streets.”

The family of 16-year-old Jose Mendez also joined the family of Jesse Romero. “I work in restaurants, and when there’s a complaint you know who you should talk to,” says Juan Mendez. “But what supervisor do you speak to when you want the LAPD to be held responsible for the killing of our children? My son Juan ‘Peruzzi’ Mendez was only 16 when he was shot and killed by LAPD on Feb. 6, 2016, but now LAPD shoots a 14-year-old. As a parent I am now wondering, is my 9-year-old at risk? No parent should fear losing their child at the hands of police.”

Norma Espinoza, Jesse Romero’s aunt, thanked the crowd for uniting with her family. She was also joined by Blanca Duenas, mother of Arturo Torrez. Torrez was murdered by LAPD in April. In addition Maria Banda told the story of her son who was shot by LAPD two years ago. After recovering from the police gunshots he was thrown in jail.

“The working class uniting with Blacks and Chicanos will be the one leading us to liberation and end police killings,” said Carlos Montes longtime Chicano revolutionary. “We need a revolutionary movement that will bring LAPD down to their knees. We demand justice now for these families, not one more death at the hands of killer cops.”

As people began to leave, the crowd lit candles in remembrance of Jesse Romero. They were placed at the site of his murder. The family of Jesse Romero and Centro CSO has called for a protest rally at the LAPD Hollenbeck police station in Boyle Heights on Saturday, Aug. 13, at noon. The struggle of Latinos and Chicanos against police violence continues.