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Vol. 74/No. 37      October 4, 2010

Protests answer
L.A. cop brutality
(lead article)
LOS ANGELES—The September 5 killing of Manuel Jamines by police here sparked several days of protests and an ongoing discussion about cop brutality in the working-class neighborhood of Westlake. Jamines, a 37-year-old day laborer from Guatemala, was shot twice in the head by Los Angeles Police Department officer Frank Hernandez. The killing took place on a busy street corner on a Sunday afternoon.

The day after the shooting hundreds of residents gathered and marched to the Ramparts police station in protest. The police responded in full riot gear, and attacked demonstrators. Hernandez and two other cops claimed they had been called because a man was threatening people with a knife, and that Hernandez fired when Jamines raised a knife and moved toward him. Ana, a school cafeteria worker who only gave her first name to the media, said she saw the shooting from across the street. Jamines “had nothing in his hands,” she insisted.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa vigorously defended the cops. “We’ve got to go through an investigation,” he said. “But when it’s all said and done, I’ll guarantee you what’s going to come out is that these guys are heroes, and I stand by them.”

“The cops definitely do not ‘protect’ the community. They do the opposite. They abuse the law,” said Danny Cruz, 23, a restaurant worker who lives a few blocks from where Jamines was killed. “The media is using this as another opportunity to criminalize Hispanics.”

Eleanor García, Socialist Workers Party candidate for U.S. Congress in District 33, has joined the rallies and vigils to protest the killing by police. “The capitalist politicians defend the cops and the entire ‘justice’ system that they use to punish and control working people,” she said in a campaign statement. “Police brutality is inherent in their system.

“Working people need to mobilize to demand the jailing of these killer cops!”
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