A multitude of about 100 people took the streets of Downtown Long Beach on Thursday to demand justice for Feras Morad, a 20 year-old unarmed student who was killed by a LBPD officer on Wednesday May 27th. The police’s blue wall of silence the family has encountered when demanding answers about the murder of their loved one, is what prompted them to take direct action in their pursuit for justice, according to testimonies shared in the event.
The rally began at Lincoln Park at around 4pm. Supporters held handmade signs and some wore white t-shirts with the image of Morad and red paint stains simulating blood. An orderly march led by energetic chants to the Long Beach Police Department followed. Family and friends of Morad spoke and directed their demands to the front windows of the agency’s building where the police officers were entrenched behind locked doors and a sign that read: “No visitations today.”
“My brother is dead because of you!” Ghada Morad, sister of Feras Morad, said on a megaphone. “You took him away… He was in need of assistance and you killed him!” She said.
Representatives of the Long Beach Black Lives Matter movement and relatives of other police brutality victims also spoke and stood in solidarity with the Morad family.
The demands of the family were simple and straightforward:
The name of the police who killed Morad to be released, an indictment process to begin and national recognition of the crime the police committed.
No officers showed up to receive the message or acknowledge their presence.
The people mobilized again and took the street for about half a mile to a local shopping center where the action was more visible and drew numerous signs of support from drivers, bystanders, and passersby who honked and cheered as the crowd marched through the busy streets.
After a brief stop at a centric point where other speakers took the stage, the protesters headed back to the starting point. As typical, the police intervene promptly when business as usual in the more affluent part of town is disrupted. Motorcycle and bicycle units of the LBPD caught up with the demonstrators and ordered them to get on the sidewalk. Alleging to be concerned for the safety of the crowd, the officers rushed to get the marchers off the street nearly trampling and running over some, but the multitude held the intersection of Broadway and Pine Ave for about 20 minutes.
Ghada came forward and faced LBPD Sergeant Ernie Kohagura.
“On May 27th, 2015, the Long Beach police killed my brother. He was unarmed. Do you see what your co-workers are doing?!” “And you are standing in front of a rally for him… Do you understand the pain my family is going through?!” she yelled to an indifferent Kohagura who remained silent and chewed gum as in casual contempt. “Do you understand?! My brother was shot and killed. He was unarmed and in desperate need of medical attention and you killed him! Do you understand police?! Do you see me police?!” she said in a sobbing but firm voice.
Other protesters also voiced their resentment towards the police.
The march continued to its end in Lincoln Park in the midst of loud chants as a police officer put his baton back on his mounted holder.
Some local media reporters covering the demonstration were called out by some protesters for engaging in character assassination, not just of Morad, but other victims of police brutality as well.
The next planned actions will take place at the Long Beach Police Department on June 13th at 1:30 PM and at the Long Beach Performing Arts Center on June 27th at 1 PM.