Last Sunday, friends and family members of fatal police shooting victims from Anaheim, Downey, Compton, and Pomona demonstrated at the corner of Garey and Holt Ave in Pomona to protest the shooting of 26-year-old Andres Avila by Pomona Police in 2011.
On the night of October 15th, 2011, Andres Avila and his girlfriend had spent the night in Avila’s car outside the Super Inn motel on West Holt Ave in Pomona. Early the following morning, officers Edgar Padilla and Scott Hess approached Avila’s vehicle while the couple was asleep and pulled Avila out of his vehicle, tasered him and then shot and killed the 26-year old Pomona resident.
Family members were not notified of the shooting, they would find out about it through a news airing where Avila’s name was released before family was ever contacted. Avila was unarmed, had no warrants on him, and was not on parole or probation.
3 months prior to the shooting, Andres Avila had filed a complaint against Sgt. Patrick O’Malley and officers Joe Hernandez, Daniel Gomez, and Jung after he was beat and tasered outside a friend’s house on July 4th, 2011. The beating was caught on video by multiple witnesses, where the owner of the house could be heard repeatedly ordering the officer to leave his property and demanding a warrant.
During last Sunday’s protest, demonstrators regrouped and marched towards the Pomona police department located at Park Ave and Mission Blvd. Echoes of “No Justice, No Peace!” could be heard throughout the streets of downtown as the march advanced south on Garey Ave.
Once arriving at the Pomona police department located in the 490 block of West Mission Blvd, supporters let their demands for transparency and accountability be heard throughout the station lobby. Station officers were quick to close down the entrance to the police station and attempted to move the demonstrators off the “private” station property. The demonstration continued outside the police station as the chants grew louder.
“We need to stop police brutality, we need to stop the violence!” remarked Liza Ortiz, whose daughter was with Andres the day he was shot, “Bring these police accountable to their crimes – murder! They cannot get away with murder just because they have a badge!”
“Officer Padilla, you killed an innocent man!” shouted 24-year-old Aloni Bonilla, who was victim to excessive force by a peace officer in 2012, “There’s a lot of Andy’s out there that families and community have not stepped up to support and fought for their case because they are scared. Families are left scared – we need to turn that fear into courage!”
In March of 2012, Bonilla was left with an eye and face contusion and spinal disc herniation after California Highway Patrol Officer Jose A. Ramirez (B#18335) brutally threw her off a chair and onto the walls of the Queen of the Valley Medical Center in West Covina. The use of excessive force was caught by the medical center’s surveillance footage, which shows officer Ramirez’s aggression after he questioned Bonilla over a “DUI” charge. During the questioning, the officer makes remarks to Bonilla assuring her that he would charge her with a DUI and crush her dream of teaching high school math.
The surveillance video was excluded from Bonilla’s trial in March this year and she plans to appeal the decision.
Most of the families present during the Pomona demonstration plan to march in Compton next weekend to support the De La Trinidad family who are demanding justice for the killing of 36-year-old Jose de La Trinidad by Compton Sheriffs last year.