Friends and family demonstrated outside the Los Angeles West Valley Police station in Reseda on Saturday, to demand accountability for the killing of 23-year-old Javier Arrazola Jr. by Los Angeles Police last year.
On October 1st, 2012, Javier Arrazola Jr. was misidentified as a “parolee” and chased through a gated apartment complex in Reseda. Once cornered, Javier 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 receiving any medical attention or being administered CPR. Once paramedics arrived, it took them 20 minutes to transport Javier to the Northridge Hospital Medical Center, only a mile away, where Javier was pronounced dead.
Javier was not on parole or probation, and was unarmed.
Officer Charles Wunder has had four other 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 had used a “nonlethal” taser gun on Garcia, while Wunder and officer Edward Rocha felt it “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 declared “justified.”
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. where they continued to rally while carrying banners, posters, and photos of Javier. Many passers-by approached the family to ask about Javier, while supporters helped pass out information to stopped traffic.
Other police killing victims’ families were present to support the Arrazola family. These families have been protesting together while building a strong coalition of victims’ families against police brutality. These included the families of Joe Whitehouse (Anaheim), Manuel Angel Diaz (Anaheim), Michael Lee Nida II (Downey), Rigoberto Arceo (Cudahy), Andres Avila (Pomona), and Jose de La Trinidad (Willowbrook).
The families’ chants of “LAPD, You are guilty!” were complemented by continuous honks of support by local residents as the family marched north on Reseda Blvd towards Valerio St, place where Javier was killed.
The march was interrupted by Sergeant Collins (#4793) of the Los Angeles Police Department. Collins stopped the march to “suggest” that the demonstration’s location was a “bad intersection” to protest due to “too many illegal drivers, too many bad drivers” and “too many idiots who don’t care.”
Families explained that they have had protests in the past and and have taken any necessary precautions and then continued marching north until reaching the 18400 block of Valerio Street. Arrazola’s family lit a candle for “Javi” and left some offerings at the spot where he was killed. The family closed of with a prayer in memory of Javier.
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.