[Update, 8/9 9:00 a.m.: Twenty-two arrests were made last night during the demonstrations, according the the LAPD. Several injuries were reported, including police officers and one Univision reporter. The LAPD declared a city-wide tactical alert after the unrest, calling officers into Westlake from throughout the area.]
Hundreds of protesters took to the streets of Westlake Tuesday night to protest the death of Guatemalan day laborer Manuel Jamines, who was shot and killed by Los Angeles Police Department officers on Sunday.
The protesters blocked traffic on 6th Street near the intersection of 6th and Union Streets, where Jamines was killed, and were throwing rocks and eggs at the police and cars that tried to break the crowd, which stretched across the road. Two LAPD helicopters circled overhead throughout the confrontations.
Protesters then marched down to the Rampart Police Station, where they threw rocks, bottles and stones at the building before being repelled by riot police.
The sign marking the Rampart police station entrance had been defaced with the words “Fuck Rampart” and an anarchy symbol.
Official LAPD Statement Released
The LAPD released a statement this evening detailing the death of Jamines. It claims that two bicycle patrolmen encountered Jamines “holding a knife in a threatening manner” and that, despite pleas in English and Spanish to drop the knife, he raised the knife over his head. At that point, according to the LAPD statement, the officer in question fired two shots that ultimately proved fatal.
Community members contest the official version of events.
Wrongful Death Suit Filed
Earlier in the afternoon, the parents of another Latino man shot and killed by Los Angeles Police Department officers filed a wrongful death suit against the City of Los Angeles and the LAPD.
Leonel Mateos was killed on August 28 in the Arlington Heights neighborhood after police responded to a 911 call his mother made to report a domestic dispute. According to the lawsuit filed Tuesday, Mateos’ mother Zenaida Santiago told the police that her son was unarmed.
The officer involved in the shooting death believed Mateos to be armed, according to summary of the incident released by LAPD. The same summary reports that only a wooden baseball bat was recovered from the scene.
Attorney Luis Carrillo, who filed the suit on behalf of Mateos’ family, said Mateos was “completely unarmed and he was shot three times in the back by LAPD officers.”
His mother pleaded that “we want justice for my son. This is not fair. I don’t want this to happen to other mothers.”
A representative from LAPD said the department “cannot comment on pending litigation,” but that “every single officer involved in a shooting goes through an extensive and thorough investigation.”
The two Latino men’s deaths were eight days apart.
Community Meeting Postponed
The Latino community had been invited to gather this evening at the Guatemalan consulate at the request of Consul General Pablo Garcia Saenz to discuss the death of Guatemalan day laborer Manuel Jamines, but that meeting was postponed until Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at 650 Union Ave.
Tuesday night shouts of “no mas muertes” and “no es justo” reverberate across downtown Los Angeles as the Latino community continues to feel that their compatriots are the victims of unfair and disproportionate police violence.
Watch two videos of the scene Tuesday night here: