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Los Angeles: Family holds protest 1 year after California Highway Patrol killed beloved Leo Chavez

By staff |
September 27, 2022
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On bullhorn is Jesse Chávez, brother of Chávez.
On bullhorn is Jesse Chávez, brother of Chávez. (Fight Back! News/Luis Sifuentes)

Los Angeles, CA – More than 50 community members gathered the morning of September 24 at Belvedere Park in East LA. The family of Leonel Chávez called for and organized the event to commemorate the upcoming one-year anniversary of the California Highway Patrol’s stealing Chávez’s life.

On September 28, 2021, Chávez was coming home after working out at the gym, when a car hit him at the intersection of Indiana and Medford in East LA. Instead of rendering aid, helping, or asking questions, CHP officer Daniel Castaneda opened fire on Chávez. Firing eight times, the shots mostly to the chest, Castaneda killed Chávez. Leo was only two blocks away from his home.

The energetic march began at the park and took to the streets of East LA. Traveling through East Cesar E. Chávez Ave, the security Centro CSO team blocked busy intersections without issue, until they finished their march. Chanting, “How do you spell murderer? CHP!” “Que le pasó? Lo mataron! Quién lo mató? La policía!” and “Say his name! Leo Chávez!” the march concluded at the CHP office in Monterey Park. Once there, Chávez’s brother Jesse Chávez opened up the event, stating, “I ask you, what do you think of when you hear police sirens? Because I think, ‘Whose life are they taking away now?’”

Maritza Padilla thanked everyone present for supporting them through this difficult time in their lives and commemorating the tragic loss of her son Leonel Chávez.

Cristal Haro of Centro CSO painted monarch butterflies after Padilla and Chávez wanted to incorporate an activity during the event for impacted families. Each family was given a butterfly to write their demands from California Highway Patrol or the officers involved in the killing of their own loved ones. Haro presented and read a manifesto against CHP that explained the art installation. The families then pasted each flower on the windows of the CHP building, along with the manifesto.

Then everyone regrouped along the sidewalk for speeches. Other impacted families who joined included the families of David Ordaz Jr., Anthony Daniel Vargas, Marco Vasquez Jr. Ivan Peña, David Sullivan, and Edgar Ortiz. 

The event was organized by the family of Leonel Chávez and Centro CSO. Others who attended included the family’s attorneys Humberto Guizar, Christian Contreras, Soledad Enrichment Action, Inc., and Freedom Road Socialist Organization.

Near the end, Sol Márquez of CSO and FRSO reminded everyone to join the fight this November 2022 to boot the Bandito LA County Alex Villanueva, urging the crowd to vote “Yes on Measure A.”

If you too, would like to join the efforts against police brutality and the push to boot the Bandito Villanueva, contact CSO at (323) 484-8630 [email protected], or @CentroCSO on TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Centro CSO is having a townhall on September 29 to talk about the key issues in the November 8 election. Their next meeting will be on October 6 via Zoom (online) at 7 p.m. PDT.

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