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LAPD cover-up, lies, exposed in police murder of Jose Mendez

By Carlos Montes |
January 17, 2017
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Arnoldo Casillas speaking at press conference.
Arnoldo Casillas speaking at press conference. Left to right sitting: Juan Mendez, Josefina Rizo. and Carlos Montes. (Fight Back! News / Staff)

Los Angeles, CA - The Mendez family and their attorney Arnold Casillas held a press conference, Jan. 11, to announce the filing of a federal lawsuit for the Feb. 6, 2016 killing of their 16-year-old son Jose Mendez by the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD). Juan Mendez spoke of his murdered son Jose, saying that he loved soccer and hamburgers. Juan Mendez displayed an urn with the ashes of Jose saying, “This is all I have left of my son. I want justice - these police who assassinated my son must go to jail.”

Attorney Arnold Casillas gave specific facts and showed a video of the Boyle Heights killing. A video from across the street on apartment building shows Jose Mendez pulling over into drive way and the LAPD quickly exiting police car and start firing at Mendez, who was still sitting and strapped with seat belt in car. The police officers are Josue Merida and Jeremy Wagner.

A witness said he heard no orders to exit the car or for raised hands, only the loud burst of multiple gunshots. Jose Mendez was instantly killed, with 19 bullet wounds to his body, mostly to the left side shoulder and face. Part of his face was destroyed. The video shows the police taking the dead body out of the driver seat. The police report states that they cut the seat belt and dragged the lifeless body about 30 feet way from car onto the side walk and handcuffed him. Police then stood over body about 10 minutes. Later medical vehicle arrives but no aid was ever given.

The police version is that Jose was stopped for driving a reported stolen car, and that he “brandished” a shotgun. In 2014 these same two officers killed someone with the same story, that he “brandished” a gun.

Josue Merida and Jeremy Wagner must be taken off the street, fired and prosecuted - they are killers. The two policemen turned off their body video cameras before the shooting. These two cops are killers and they are now back on the street patrolling our community.

At an LAPD Police Commission hearing of Jan. 10, on the agenda was an Officer Involved Shooting report from Chief Charlie Beck. During the public comment period, Sol Marquez with Centro CSO called for the prosecution of the police. During the closed hearing they determined that the shooting was “within policy.” The commission bought into the lies of the two police officers and Chief Beck fed them their lies to consider a shooting “within policy.”

The Los Angeles District Attorney Jackey Lacey has also not prosecuted these killer cops or the many others. There were 19 killings by police in Los Angeles in 2016; six in Boyle Heights/East Los Angeles alone. The Mendez family and Attorney Arnoldo Casillas are in unity with Centro CSO are now calling for the U.S. federal government to intervene and conduct a federal investigation on the Jose Mendez killing, and the others, in Boyle Heights.

Centro CSO has organized with the families of Jose Mendez; Edwin Rodriguez, who was killed Feb. 14, 2016; Arturo Valdez, killed April 6; and Jessie Romero, killed August 9, to demand justice, and that the killer cops be fired and prosecuted.

Centro CSO is calling for a mass march on Jan. 20, to fight the coming Trump attacks. Demands include “Legalization, No Deportations and Jail the Killer Cops.” The rally will assemble at 11 a.m. at Mariachi Plaza and will march to LA City Hall.

Chicanos have a long history of organizing resistance to police killing and abuse. Since the 1848 Mexican American war - when the now-U.S. Southwest was occupied, we faced lynching and killings of the native indigenous and Chicano population. We have and will continue to fight back!