The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Inglewood, CA:
Cops’ Killing Spree

Sep 8, 2008

Seven Inglewood, California cops, firing over 40 bullets, gunned down an unarmed homeless man, Eddie Felix Franco, 56. The cops also killed Franco’s dog, wounded a passing motorist and endangered countless others, having opened fire on the Sunday of the Labor Day weekend at a busy downtown intersection next to a barbecue restaurant filled with patrons.

Needless to say, no one believed the cops’ desperate excuse for this carnage–that they felt threatened because Franco had what turned out to be a toy gun. Especially not–since Franco was the fifth person Inglewood cops murdered in just over a year!

The cops’ Inglewood killing spree began on May 7, 2007, when they gunned down 20-year-old Richard Tyson for the simple act of getting off his bicycle and running away from them when they wanted to talk to him about a traffic infraction. The cops later claimed that Tyson, who was unarmed, turned and charged toward them and–fearing for their life–they shot him four times–in the back!

One year later, Inglewood police fired three shots into the torso of 19-year-old Michael Byoune as he was riding with two friends to a fast-food restaurant. Byoune was dead at the scene. The driver of the car, his friend, 19-year-old Larry White, was wounded and survived. A third passenger sitting in the back seat was not hit. The cops later claimed that they were “investigating” a report of gunfire in the neighborhood and felt “threatened” by the three unarmed black men in the car.

During the July 4th weekend, Inglewood police shot and killed 23-year-old Ruben Walton Ortega in an alley as he ran away from them when they sought to question him about a loitering complaint. They later admitted that he was unarmed, but they claimed he was a reputed gang member.

Three weeks later, answering a domestic complaint in the dead of the night, Inglewood cops shot and killed Kevin Wicks, a black postal worker with close to 20 years seniority, at his own apartment door–claiming that Wicks, who lived in a high-crime neighborhood, had a gun. It turned out that the cops had the wrong apartment. But the white cop who did the killing, Brian Ragan, was already under investigation for killing Michael Byoune two months before!

That makes five killings by the Inglewood Police currently “under investigation”: Richard Tyson, May 7, 2007; Michael Byoune, May 11, 2008; Ruben Ortega, July 1; Kevin Wicks, July 21 and now Eddie Felix Franco, August 31. Considering that Inglewood has a population of only slightly more than 100,000, that is something of a brutal record–even for that violent gang, the Inglewood police.

Up until now, the authorities–local, state and federal–have only this to say about it: they are looking into it.

In other words, they are covering up the murder spree.