Friends, family, and supporters from neighboring cities demonstrated outside the Los Angeles West Valley Police station in Reseda last Sunday, to demand accountability for the killing of 23-year-old Javier Arrazola Jr.
On October 1st, 2012, Javier Arrazola Jr. was misidentified as a "parolee" and chased through a gated apartment complex in Reseda. When Javier was cornered, he was handcuffed and then beaten and tasered multiple times by Los Angeles police officer Charles Wunder. Suffering substantial injuries, Javier was left on the concrete floor without any CPR administered. Once paramedics finally arrived, it took them 20 minutes to transport Javier to the Northridge Hospital Medical Center, only about a mile away, where Javier was pronounced dead.
Javier was not on parole or probation, and was unarmed.
Just like Anaheim has “repeat shooter” officers who have killed more than one victim, officer Charles Wunder has 4 deaths under his badge.
On July 16th, 2003, Wunder and another officer shot and killed 36-year-old Erick Jerome Garcia at a downtown Greyhound bus terminal. Wunder was under investigation after the shooting, especially since one of the three officers involved used a “nonlethal” taser gun on Garcia, while Wunder and officer Edward Rocha felt justifiable to use deadly force.
Prior to the 2003 killing, Wunder had been involved in two other shootings, one in September of 2001, and another in July of 2002. Both shootings were found to be “justified.”
During the rally last Sunday, Sergeant (Detective) Timothy Kirkpatrick (#4978) and Sergeant Jason Zabel (#3991) of the West Valley Patrol Division, approached the Arrazola family to “ask” who Javier was.
“I honestly don’t know who it is,” claimed Sergeant Zabel.
“Javier Arrazola, he was killed about a mile away from here – you don’t know who it is?” questioned one of the supporters, “he was tasered to death by one of your officers.”
After rallying outside the police station for about an hour, the family and supporters began to mobilize towards the busy intersection at Vanowen St and Reseda Blvd. Carrying banners, posters, and photos of Javier, the group continued onward towards the apartment complex on the 18400 block of Valerio Street, where Javier was killed by LAPD.
There, the Arrazola family closed the action with prayer and words of solidarity for all the families present.
“You are not alone, your family is part of our family and we’re a part of your family” shared Damion from Long Beach, “you don’t ever have to fight alone again….look at all the families that are here for you today. We care about Javier, we care about his memory and his legacy…we know what its like to have nobody care about your loved one because a police officer murdered him.”
Support was also extended to the mothers present who had lost their sons to police fire; Tracy Davenport, whose 22-year-old son, Tony Francis, was killed by a Sheriff Deputy in Bellflower 6 months ago, and Genevieve Huizar, whose son was shot and killed by police in Anaheim 7 months ago.
Jean Thaxton, who also lost her son Michael Lee Nida II after being shot in the back with an MP5 machine gun by a Downey officer in 2011, commented on LA Police Chief Charlie Beck’s response during a forum held by the Southern California Cease Fire Committee last week. “I thought it was insulting,” explained Jean, “I asked him, do they use a different ruler to measure police brutality than we, the regular citizens do? – he [Beck] says, oh, we just have to ‘follow the law’ – follow the law? They tasered Javier to death, that’s following the law? They shot my son in the back, that’s following the law? Tracy’s son and Genevieve’s son, they shot them in the back, that’s not following the law! …we can’t let them steal our voices, we need to gather together and we gotta grow in numbers.”
The Arrazola family is asking the community and any witnesses to come forward with any information that could help their case. They have set up a page to help support their struggle for justice and to network with other families of victims of police brutality.