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

Gardena, California:
Video Exposes Police Murder—And Lies

Jul 20, 2015

Police videos of a shooting in Gardena, California were released two years after the incident. Police and city authorities had called the shooting, which left one man dead and another wounded, “justified.” In fact, nothing the cops did was justified.

The videos show the cops pointing their guns at three men, ordering them to put their hands up. The cops later said they had suspected the men of stealing a bicycle. In reality the men, co-workers at a restaurant, were looking for the stolen bicycle, which belonged to the brother of one of them.

The cops just never asked, apparently. One of the men, 35-year-old Ricardo Diaz Zeferino, looks confused, perhaps even scared, in the videos–which would not be a surprise under the circumstances. He seems to be trying to say something to the cops. Later, his friends said he was trying to explain to the cops that they stopped the wrong people.

But the cops were not in a listening mood. Three of them opened fire, hitting Diaz Zeferino eight times and killing him. The cops said they thought Diaz Zeferino might be reaching for a weapon. But the videos show that, when they opened fire, Diaz Zeferino was standing with his arms spread and palms open, as if, perhaps, asking, “What’s going on?”

One of the other men, Eutiquio Acevedo Mendez, also took a bullet, near his spine. He was “inadvertently struck with a bullet,” the City of Gardena said in court–nice way to describe the cops’ reckless shooting of two unarmed men, murdering one and seriously wounding the other!

The videos expose not only the murder but also the cops’ and their higher-ups’ lies about it. No wonder the authorities tried to hide the videos from the public–until a judge ordered them released. And the only reason the judge did that was that the victims’ families fought for the release of the videos. They weren’t about to be bought off with the blood money the city paid them.