California Promete Luchar Contra Trump en Defensa de Indocumentados

November 17, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

El estado de California se prepara para presentar una batalla e intentar frenar el efecto de las posibles medidas sobre inmigración que establezca el futuro presidente, Donald Trump.

“Quiero asegurar a las millones de personas que están aquí, buscando y contribuyendo al ‘Sueño Californiano’, pero que no tienen documentación, que el Estado de California los apoya completamente”, manifestó el presidente interino de la Asamblea estatal, Kevin de León.

“Los líderes estatales defenderán sus derechos de proceso debido y agresivamente nos apoyaremos de cualquier y toda herramienta para prevenir una extralimitación irresponsable por una administración Trump en California”, advirtió el político hispano.

En Los Ángeles, una Coalición fue formada incluyendo al miembro del consejo de Los Ángeles, Gil Cedillo, la Oficina del Alcalde Eric Garcetii, la Supervisora del Condado de Los Ángeles, Hilda Solís, la Oficina de la Supervisora Sheila Kuehl, el Distrito Escolar Unificado de Los Ángeles.

“Todos tenemos un cierto nivel de miedo y preocupación pero no debemos que eso gobierne nuestras vidas. Necesitamos seguir con nuestras rutinas diarias y encontrar consolación en que somos Los Ángeles y estamos unidos”, dijo Cedillo.

“América es más grande que cualquier hombre o partido. Seguiremos protegiendo a nuestros residentes, escuchando a nuestras comunidades y trabajando juntos por un futuro mejor,” dijo Solís en una declaración.

Concejal Gil Cedillo junto con los oficiales de la ciudad en una conferencia de prensa en el que se habló de la unidad y los intereses para proteger a la comunidad de inmigrantes, el jueves, 10 de noviembre. (Foto: Oficina de Gil Cedillo)

Concejal Gil Cedillo junto con los oficiales de la ciudad en una conferencia de prensa en el que se habló de la unidad y los intereses para proteger a la comunidad de inmigrantes, el jueves, 10 de noviembre. (Foto: Oficina de Gil Cedillo)

Al igual que grupos de defensa de derechos de inmigrantes como CHIRLA, CARECEN y MALDEF, y lideres religiosos de CLUE-LA se unieron.

Angélica Salas, directora ejecutiva de la Coalición por los Derechos Humanos de los Inmigrantes de Los Ángeles (CHIRLA), dijo a EFE que el primer trabajo que están realizando estas organizaciones es “analizar el impacto fiscal que las propuestas de Donald Trump” puedan tener en el estado, para garantizar que se cuenta con el “presupuesto para seguir haciendo las cosas buenas” que se merece el estado, indicó.

El alcalde de Los Ángeles, Eric Garcetti, adelantó que “levantarán la voz” si ven medidas “hostiles” en contra de la comunidad y rechazó colaborar con Inmigración, el jefe de Policía de la ciudad Charlie Beck también dijo que no trabajarán con las autoridades federales en sus “esfuerzos de deportación”, pues no es su función.

Salas informó de que se está trabajando “en una protesta masiva colectiva de todas las organizaciones inmigrantes y todos los grupos que se sienten atacados en este momento para pedirle al gobierno que nos trate con igualdad”.

Dicha acción se realizaría en Los Ángeles, al igual que en otras ciudades, la víspera del día de la posesión de Trump como nuevo presidente del país el próximo 20 de enero.

Estas marchas serían el colofón a las que se iniciaron en varias ciudades del país la pasada semana y a la que llevaron a cabo cientos de estudiantes de preparatoria en Los Ángeles.

Los activistas prometen también batalla legal contra las acciones que pueda tomar el Gobierno federal una vez llegue Trump al poder.

“Si el presidente electo Trump trata de convertir sus promesas de campaña ilegales e inconstitucionales en políticas, lo veremos en la corte”, declaró en una declaración enviada a EFE Anthony Romero, del Fondo de Acción de la Unión Americana por las Libertades Civiles (ACLU).

Romero aseguró que están “vigilantes” y lucharán por los “derechos de cada persona, cada día que Trump esté en la Presidencia”.

Las universidades públicas californianas anunciaron que continuarán aplicando medidas que favorecen a los estudiantes indocumentados como el que paguen las mismas tarifas que los residentes legales del estado o puedan beneficiarse de préstamos con bajos intereses con fondos estatales.

Al asegurar que “sabemos que hay comprensible consternación e incertidumbre entre los miembros de la comunidad de la Universidad de California”, la junta de Regentes aseguró que UC “está orgullosa de ser un lugar diverso y acogedor para los estudiantes, los profesores y los empleados con un amplio rango de antecedentes, experiencias y perspectivas”.

No obstante, algunas ayudas a los indocumentados, como en el caso del servicio de salud pública gratuito Medical para los menores de 19 años, puede verse afectado por recortes federales.

“Usamos los fondos del presupuesto estatal de salud para pagar estos servicios a los menores indocumentados, pero si los fondos federales otorgados a California se recortan igualmente estos recursos se verán disminuidos”, explicó Salas.

Al respecto, Rusty Hicks, secretario-tesorero de la Federación Laboral de Los Ángeles, AFL-CIO, anunció que movilizarán a “todos los californianos” para defender los subsidios federales.

“La Administración Trump posiblemente cortará fondos federales para seguridad pública a las ciudades que defienden a los inmigrantes”, anunció Hicks al referirse a las denominadas “ciudades santuario”, en las que las autoridades locales rechazan colaborar con Inmigración en programas voluntarios.

*Este reporte tiene aportaciones añadidas de comunicados de prensa

Trump Will Get No Help Deporting Immigrants from LAPD, Says Police Chief

November 17, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

The Los Angeles Police Department will not actively help federal officials apprehend immigrants who are in the country illegally and are “low-level offenders,” even in the face of President-elect Donald Trump’s plans to deport up to 3 million immigrants who have committed crimes, Police Chief Charlie Beck said Tuesday.

The department will still cooperate with federal officials if the immigrant in custody has committed a “serious violent crime,” Beck told reporters at City Hall.

But “the use of local law enforcement for general deportation reasons for low-level offenders is not appropriate,” he said.

While not fitting the typical definition of a “sanctuary city” that shields undocumented immigrants from federal officials, Los Angeles has long had a policy of keeping local police work separate from that of federal immigration officials.

Beck said that as a local law enforcement agency, the police department’s primary goal is to ensure the safety of Angelenos, which depends on officers being trusted by the immigrant community.

“Over 500,000 Angelenos, people who live in Los Angeles, are undocumented immigrants,” Beck said. “I need their cooperation. I need them to work with their local police stations. I need them to be witnesses to violent crime. I need them to be part of the fabric of Los Angeles if we are to
keep this city safe.”

“For a local law enforcement agency to take on the role of immigration enforcement tears that fabric apart,” he said.

Beck said the department will keep people in custody no longer than the typical 48 to 72 hours, and will not honor requests by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials to detain people longer than that.

Beck said the department takes the position that these types of “ICE detainers have been shown to be illegal.”

The police department, however, will not hide the fact that an undocumented immigrant has been taken into custody, according to Beck.

Beck said the “system by which we run folks nationally for warrants notifies ICE automatically,” so they will still release people to immigration enforcement officials as long as they are in their custody, Beck said.

“If they (ICE officials) call, if they make contact, then we give them the release dates, but we don’t hold people past those release dates,” he said. “And if they bail out, they bail out.”

He said that while it would be a “big deal” if the department’s stance were to result in the city losing out on federal dollars, it will not influence whether he does “the right thing.”

“It’s a matter of principle,” he said. “This is a matter of what … is the core value of the Los Angeles Police Department, which I believe far transcends any other motivation.”

‘Racial Profiling’ Happens, But Not Rampant, Says L.A. Police Chief

November 17, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Addressing critics who say racial profiling is still a significant problem for the police department, Chief Charlie Beck said Tuesday that while he believes bias is not “rampant” among officers, he hopes

to build more trust between police and the community.

Beck made the comments after a special Police Commission meeting that was intended to re-open a dialogue into the issue of racial profiling, or biased policing.

The gathering marked one of the first times in months in which a meeting by the oversight panel was not disrupted by people protesting Beck and the department’s policing practices.

“Do I think that biased policing is rampant? Absolutely not,” Beck told reporters. “Do I think it occurs? Of course it does.”

Beck said he felt the best way to address bias was “through exercises that build trust, on the police side and on the community’s side.

The Police Commission helped facilitate one of those “exercises,” holding the special meeting at City Hall on racial profiling, which the department has traditionally measured by investigating and mediating complaints submitted by residents.

While the department receives many biased-policing complaints, very few are sustained, leading many activists to wonder whether the department is using an effective means of measuring and rooting out profiling.

They argue that counter to the small number of sustained complaints, racial profiling is a major problem because black and Latino residents are still being subjected to police stops or targeted by police at far higher frequencies than white residents.

Police department officials Tuesday acknowledged that determining whether there is racial profiling can be difficult, but said they have been diligent in their efforts to try to prevent it.

Officers are screened for bias during recruitment and receive training to make them more aware of bias, including the type that is unconsciously held.

The department also makes an effort to foster deeper relationships with the community through “community policing” programs, they said.

The meeting offered activists and critics more time than usual to put forward their own suggestions for how the department could improve its policing practices, and many lauded a presentation by L. Song Richardson, a UC Irvine law professor who gave a primer on unconscious or “implicit” bias.

Richardson said most people are affected by implicit bias, and it is often a way to make decisions or come to conclusions efficiently during ambiguous situations.

Such biases can often be instilled through the social environment and culture, she said.

Social scientists who measure the effects of implicit bias have found that people of all races and ages learn biases that cast black men in a negative light much more often than their white counterparts, Richardson told the commission.

Such biases also occur in people who believe strongly that all people should be treated equally, she said.

In the context of policing, implicit biases have the potential of escalating tense encounters or can lead officers to interpret non-threatening actions in a black or Latino person as aggression, she said.

Richardson recommended “structural” changes that promote less-biased behavior in officers, saying that just making officers aware of implicit bias is not enough.

Richardson said that rather than creating incentives that reward officers’ ability to issue citations and make arrests — leading to an effect that punishes more minority residents than whites — the department should consider rewarding officers for developing a better bond with the community.

Also addressing the commission was Peter Bibring, a lawyer with American Civil Liberties Union, who argued that black and Latino people are stopped by the Los Angeles Police Department at much higher rates than whites.

Bibring said it shows “there is a problem” with racial profiling, and that it’s “not just a perception problem.”

Union officials representing rank-and-file police officers said Tuesday that in order to do the kind of community-oriented police work promoted by the department at such hearings, they need more staffing.

They say that while they are validated by the department’s report on efforts to prevent racial profiling and the survey results showing the majority of residents have positive feelings about them, “our officers lack the time and resources to conduct proactive community policing that is the bedrock to building productive relationships that help keep neighborhoods safe.”

“The residents and police officers of Los Angeles deserve” a new approach to “community policing,” their statement said, “but that will require policymakers to roll up their sleeves and match their rhetoric with action.”

 

Nearly 200 Arrested Following Anti-Trump Protest in Downtown L.A.

November 17, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Around 185 protesters were in custody Friday following another round of protests over Donald J. Trump’s election in downtown Los Angeles, police said.

While most protesters on Thursday were regarded as peaceful by police, officers gave dispersal orders to an aggressive group that refused to budge from the area around Olympic Boulevard and Olive Street around midnight, said Los Angeles police Officer Tony Im.

Thursday night’s protests, which extended into the Friday morning hours, prompted Metro to detour some buses off Spring Street.

There were no reports of protesters hurling items at officers Thursday night, unlike the night before, but one officer was assaulted and hospitalized and his condition was not immediately available, said LAPD Officer Norma Eisenman. The suspect who assaulted the officer was also hospitalized, she
said.

No other injuries were reported.

Eisenman said there were reports of vandalism and graffiti in downtown but did not specify where.

Thirty protesters were arrested 24 hours earlier early Thursday, when hundreds shut down portions of the Hollywood (101) Freeway in unrest that began Wednesday night. The number of protesters late Thursday night was about a third of Wednesday’s 3,000.

Some high school students took to the Hollywood Freeway near downtown Los Angeles again about 3 p.m. Thursday, causing lane closures before officers were able to clear them off.

Hundreds of protesters gathered again in the evening and marched from City Hall to Staples Center and back, being joined along the way by a contingent from USC, where protests took place earlier in the day. A protest was also held at UCLA.

“We’re here to protect everybody’s right to free speech but not when it impedes everyone else and not when it puts people in harm’s way,” said LAPD Public Information Director Josh Rubenstein.

In a statement, Mayor Eric Garcetti said the right to free expression is “one of our greatest privileges as Americans,” but added that unlawful, dangerous behavior won’t be tolerated.

Breves de la Comunidad

November 10, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Boyle Heights

(CNS)- La policía de Los Ángeles persiguió a un automovilista desde el Centro de Los Ángeles hasta Boyle Heights el 8 de noviembre. Una persona fue arrestada y dos otros fueron tiroteados.

La persecución comenzó alrededor de las 10:20 a.m. cerca del bloque 300 de la Calle Wall y continuó hacia la autopista 5, hacia el sur de Santa Ana cerca de la Calle Calzona. Fue entonces cuando el vehículo se estrelló, según el Departamento de Policía de Los Ángeles.

El vehículo estaba en búsqueda en relación con un delito en un dispensario de marihuana, dijo la policía.

El Sereno

(CNS)- Por casi cinco horas un hidrante cortado derramó agua a causa de un golpe por un motorista en la comunidad de El Sereno el 4 de noviembre.

El choque ocurrió alrededor de las 2:30 a.m. cerca de Klamath Place y la Avenida Eastern, de acuerdo a un comandante del la Estación de Hollenbeck del Departamento de Polícia de Los Ángeles.

El conductor huyó a pie, dejando atrás a un Dodge Gris, describió el sargento.

Un equipo del Departamento de Agua y Energía de Los Ángeles llegó a reparar los daños cerrar el agua.

Highland Park

(CNS)- Los bomberos controlaron un incendio en el nivel superior de un hogar de dos pisos en Highland Park el 5 de noviembre, dijeron las autoridades.

El incidente fue reportado a las 2:32 p.m. en el 125 South Avenue 60, dijo Brian Humphrey, portavoz del Departamento de Bomberos de Los Ángeles.

El incendio fue contenido a las 3:10 p.m, y los dos adultos que fueron evacuados según declinaron recibir cuidado de los paramédicos.

La causa y el monto de pérdida aún está por determinarse, dijo Humphrey.

Este De Los Ángeles

(CNS)- Una rotulo que designa el intercambio de las Autopistas 10 hacia San Bernardino y la 710 hacia Long Beach fue revelado el 8 de noviembre en memoria del comisionado del condado de Los Ángeles, Thomas H. Pohlman.

Una ceremonia tomó lugar en el Biscailuz Center Training Academy en el Este de Los Ángeles.

Pohlman murió por un disparo que un sospechoso le dio durante una lucha mientras era arrestado.

El sospechoso obtuvo el control de Pohlman y le disparó entre los ojos durante la lucha y Pohlman fue declarado muerto en la escena. La esposa de Pohlman, Jenny, estaba embarazada de su hija en el momento de su asesinato.

LAPD Identifies Officer Involved in Police Shootings

October 20, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

A Los Angeles police officer was involved in two fatal shootings within two weeks last summer, according to broadcast reports.

The LAPD identified Eden Medina as the officer involved in the July 28 shooting death of Omar Gonzalez in East Los Angeles and the Aug. 9 shooting death of 14-year-old Jesse Romero in Boyle Heights, according to the reports.

Medina fatally shot Gonzalez – said to be armed with a semi-automatic handgun – during a fight with officers following a pursuit of a stolen car that ended near the 1200 block of Atwood Street, police said.

Medina fatally shot Romero after the teen fired at an officer responding to a vandalism call near Chicago Street and Cesar Chavez Avenue, police said.

Both shootings remain under investigation.

Breves de la Comunidad

October 20, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Este de Los Ángeles

(CNS)- Se espera otro fin de semana repleto con retrasos y congestiones del tráfico en el Este de Los Ángeles. Esto, a causa del cierre de 54 horas de la parte dirigida al norte de la Autopista 710 hacia Long Beach.

De acuerdo al Departamento de Transportación de California (Caltrans en inglés), el lado hacia el norte de la autopista cerrará entre la conexión de la Autopista 5 de Santa Ana y la 60 hacia Pomona hasta las 4 a.m. del lunes. Se espera que el proyecto de reemplazo de asfalto, con costo total de $120 millones, instale 90 paneles de concreto cada fin de semana.

El cierre ocurrirá seis veces más con la excepción de los fin de semanas de Oct. 28-31, Nov. 11-14 y Nov. 25-28.

Este de Los Ángeles

(CNS)- Un oficial del Departamento de Policía de Los Ángeles ha estado envuelto en dos tiroteos fatales a lo largo de dos semanas, el verano pasado de acuerdo a reportes de transmisión.

El oficial, Eden Medina, fue parte de la muerta de Omar González el 28 de julio en el Este de Los Ángeles y de nuevo el 9 de agosto en el encuentro con Jesse Romero en Boyle Heights según los reportes.

Medina disparó en contra de González, quien se dijo iba armado con una pistola semiautomática durante una pelea con los oficiales después de una persecución que acabó en el bloque 1200 de la Calle Atwood.

Medina también disparó en contra de Romero después de que el joven huyó y disparó en dirección de los oficiales durante una persecución a pie en la calle Chicago y Avenida Cesar Chávez. Ambos incidentes permanecen bajo investigación.

Montebello

(CNS)- Un accidente automovilístico involucró a tres vehículos la mañana del 16 de octubre en la Autopista 60 en Montebello. Esto causó un cierre temporal de los carriles por casi 40 minutos, pero no se reportaron heridos, según la Patrulla de Autopistas de California.

El accidente ocurrió a las 2 a.m. al este del Bulevar Paramount entre una Ford Expedition, un sedán Kia y un camión.

Echo Park

(CNS)- Un hombre murió después de ser tiroteado el 17 de octubre en Echo Park, según la policía.

El tiroteo fue reportado a las 9:31 p.m. cerca de la intersección de las Calles Mohawk y Montana. Aun se buscan a los dos hombres creídos en estar relacionados con su muerte.

LAPD Panel Orders Review of Public Disclosure in Police Shootings

October 13, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

The city Police Commission Tuesday unanimously approved changes to the way the Los Angeles Police Department handles police shootings, including increasing de-escalation training for officers and releasing more information about shootings sooner.

While some other police departments already offer real-life simulation training for officers on a regular basis, the LAPD is in the early stages of offering training that includes “reality-based” drills, according to an Inspector General report presented to the commission Tuesday.

LAPD began rolling out the reality-based training in 2015, with all officers expected to take it by 2017, according to the report. There are no plans yet to offer the training on a regular basis.

The Office of the Inspector General’s report compared the LAPD’s “use-of-force” policies to those of departments in Las Vegas, Dallas, San Diego and Washington, D.C.

According to the report, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department requires patrol officers to undergo four-hour drill-based training two times a year that includes a de-escalation scenario. Dallas Police Department patrol officers must take part in daylong reality-based training annually. And every two years, all officers with the Washington, D.C. police department are required to take a 40-hour training session that uses a “tactical village” scenario drill.

The panel unanimously backed Commission President Matt Johnson and Commissioner Sandra Figueroa-Villa’s recommendations that the department increase and offer reality-based training on a regular basis.

Johnson said he wants to do more training that “takes officers out of the classrooms, away from the computer” and puts them into “real-life interactive scenarios.”

The drills would allow officers to practice reacting to “potentially volatile situations in a controlled environment,” he said.

The OIG also looked into other departments’ practices for releasing details and video footage of police shootings, and found that the Las Vegas department had the most liberal policies.

Las Vegas police officials put out video statements on YouTube a few hours after shootings, according to the OIG report.

Within about three days of a shooting, Las Vegas department officials provide detailed summaries, including the names and tenure of the officers involved, the shooting victim or suspect’s identity and other details, video and 911 recordings, crime scene photographs and information about the evidence that was recovered, according to the OIG report.

The commission Tuesday also approved Johnson and Figueroa-Villa’s recommendation that the department look at “what additional information regarding uses of force, including officer-involved shooting incidents can be released to the public in an expedited fashion and develop a protocol for ensuring the accuracy of the information released.”

Johnson said he believes “we have the obligation to provide the public as much accurate information as is responsible.”

The commission instructed department officials to report back on the recommendations within 90 days.

Commissioner Cynthia McClain-Hill expressed support for the recommendations, saying that “we have an obligation to review and reconsider if there are ways we can be better.”

Responding to the OIG report, Police Chief Charlie Beck said, “It’s important to look at the other agencies’ experiences so we can make this the best police department that it can possibly be.”

But he cautioned that “state laws are different, that union agreements are different, that demands on police officers vary from city to city, so not one size fits all, but all these things are worth considering.”

He added that he likes that Las Vegas gives out information on “the totality of the investigation” and that the department does a “presentation.”

“I like the fact (the presentation is) available to the public via video so everybody can watch it,” he said. “So I think those things are excellent. Now whether or not we would adhere to the same timeline that they do, their state laws are different… and in fact the volume of work that Las Vegas does is very different than ours too.”

The Las Vegas department serves a population of about 1.5 million people, compared to Los Angeles’ population of 4 million, according to the OIG report.

 

LAPD Attempts to Improve Trust in Boyle Heights

October 13, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

A rash of officer-involved-shootings targeting Latinos and African Americans has sparked calls for greater transparency in police use of force incidents in the Los Angeles Police Department. Calls for better training of police officers working in neighborhoods like Boyle Heights, where the recent fatal police shooting of a teenager sparked protests and a lawsuit by the victim’s family, are also on the rise.

The relationship between Los Angeles police and the city’s Eastside community is complicated. It’s been that way for generations.

At the Ramona Gardens pubic housing complex in Boyle Heights, for example, police for years were seen more as an occupying force than protectors against the gang-related crime and violence that has plagued the area for decades. Residents complained that LAPD’s “heavy hand” and “racial profiling” had led to many young Latinos being wrongly incarcerated, beaten or shot.

“People had a very negative image of the police,” recalls Sister Mary Catherine Antczak, principal at nearby Santa Teresita School.

On Tuesday, the L.A. Police Commission moved to require police officers to undergo “reality-based” training on a regular basis. Commission President Matt Johnson said he wants more training that “takes officers out of the classrooms, away from the computer” and puts them into “real-life interactive scenarios,” in hopes of de-escalating volatile situations.

A memorial is set up in Boyle Heights at the location where a 14-year-old was shot by an LAPD officer.  (EGP photo by Nancy Martinez)

A memorial is set up in Boyle Heights at the location where a 14-year-old was shot by an LAPD officer. (EGP photo by Nancy Martinez)

For one group of LAPD officers, positive involvement with Ramona Gardens residents is how they hope to combat years of distrust and de-escalate conflicts.

“Believe it or not, most people here like us,” Officer Rivas told EGP on Monday.

Rivas is one of 10 officers in LAPD’s Community Safety Partnership (CSP) unit based out of the Hollenbeck Station and exclusively assigned to Ramona Gardens. Since 2011, the unit’s mission has been to improve community relations while reducing crime. Their efforts have focused on providing services to steer children in the low-income housing complex away from the entrenched Hazard Gang that has for generations called the area home.

“We are here to break that cycle,” says Rivas.

After their daily patrols, officers return to the community to coach after school youth programs, including football, baseball, boxing and folklorico dancing. The officers also host community events and chaperone field trips to sporting events, theme parks and museums.

At first, parents, some of them former gang members, were hesitant to interact with the officers or to allow their children to participate in activities. It was hard to get past their views of abuse, excessive force and racial profiling by the LAPD in their own backyard.

Over the last five years however, may parents have experienced a change of heart and over 100 children ages 6 to 19 now participate in programs offered by CSP, according to Rivas.

“The greatest measure of trust is that these parents let the police interact with their children,” Sister Antczak points out.

Three of Rudy Espinoza’s children participate in the program. He’s lived in Ramona Gardens all his life and recalls that there was a time when he never would have thought of approaching a patrol car, let alone allowing his children to regularly interact with police officers.

“The kids feel safe in their presence,” he now acknowledges. “[The program] has built trust, specially for the younger generation,” he told EGP Monday.

Alejandro Cruz, 14, told EGP he reluctantly joined CSP programs when he was 8-years-old.

“At first I did not trust them,” he said. “But my mother knew at a certain age gangs would try to recruit me,” he explained.

Since then, Cruz has joined the running club, football team and taken trips to Dodgers games and Knott’s Berry Farm with the officers.

“They have motivated me and inspired me to move out of the projects and get more out of life,” says the Cathedral High School student.

Many single mothers in the area rely on the programs, explains Sister Antczek.

Our officers at times serve as father figures to the children, adds Officer Rivas.

“We tell them ‘it’s not where you live, it’s what you do with your life’” that matters, he explains.

(EGP photo by Nancy Martinez)

(EGP photo by Nancy Martinez)

Instead of fearing or running from police as they did in the past, Antczak tells EGP she now often sees people, including children, willingly approach officers patrolling the area.

She recalled an occasion when she grew concerned because she saw two eighth-grade students run off during a religious event, but to her surprise, they’d actually taken off to say hello to the local police officers, and were smiling and laughing when she found them.

“Who would believe that when young teenagers see the police they would be running towards them?”

But not everyone feels the same or sees interactions with the LAPD in such a positive light.

Many local activists still distrust the police and point to recent fatal encounters as proof that there is a long way to go before they’ll believe things have changed.

Two months ago, 14-year-old Jesse Romero was shot by a police officer in Boyle Heights during a foot chase. Already reeling from news of police shootings of African Americans and riots in other parts of the country, local activists were outraged that a vandalism call had ended with police shooting and killing the teenager. Protests and demands for justice have been ongoing.

There are conflicting reports about whether Romero shot at police officers; one witness claims the teen threw the gun at a fence, which inadvertently released a gunshot.

Longtime community activist Carlos Montes has been advocating against excessive use of force by the LAPD for years, most recently helping to organize protests in response to the shooting of Romero and others in recent months.

These days it’s hard to gauge whether the relationship between the LAPD and the community has really improved, he told EGP, pointing out that there have been five officer-involved shootings in Boyle Heights since February.

“There are police officers that want to kill and they want to shoot,” he claims. “There is a systematic problem…when is the last time a police officer got prosecuted for murder,” he said, showing that there are still those who don’t trust that justice will ever be served when it comes to cases involving excessive use of force by police.

Montes maintain CSP is just another LAPD “public relations” effort that does not address the core problem.

“Ramona Gardens has had a long history of police brutality and police killings,” Montes said. “They [LAPD] need too stop killing people and stop targeting blacks and browns.”

For the 14-year-old Cruz, police-involved shootings are a concern. He told EGP that when tragic officer-involved shootings take place, especially those involving LAPD, he will ask the officers he knows to explain what happened.

In his view, the LAPD has changed Ramona Gardens for the better. He says parents no longer fear letting their children play outside, something he was not allowed to do when he first moved there.

“It still looks scary, but it feels safer,” he said.

The positive interactions between the officers and children through CSP have also slowly started to change the way their parents view the LAPD presence in Ramona Gardens.

“The kids are ambassadors in some ways,” points out Sister Antczak. “With everything being said about police officers, this program is the way to build trust.”

 

Programa del LAPD Cultiva Confianza En Ramona Gardens

October 13, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Un brote de tiroteos, involucrando a oficiales de la policía y dirigidos hacia los latinos y afro americanos, han provocado un llamado para mayor transparencia en el uso de fuerza del Departamento de Policía de Los Ángeles (LAPD). Imploraciones a que se mejoren los entrenamientos de los oficiales, quienes trabajan en vecindarios como Boyle Heights, lugar donde recientemente murió un adolescente tiroteado por la policía, también han incrementado. Esto, ha causado protestas y hasta una demanda de parte de la familia de la victima.

La relación entre la policía de Los Ángeles y la comunidad del este de la ciudad es complicada, siendo así por generaciones.

Por ejemplo, en Ramona Gardens, complejo de viviendas públicas en Boyle Heights, los policías han sido vistos más como una potencia invasora en vez de ser vistos como protectores del crimen pandillero y la violencia que ha plagado el área por décadas. Los residentes se quejan de que el uso de la “mano dura” y de las “caracterizaciones raciales” del LAPD han causado a que varios jóvenes latinos hayan sido golpeados, encarcelados o tiroteados erróneamente.

“La gente tiene una imagen bien negativa de la policía”, dijo la hermana Mary Catherine Antczak, directora de la escuela cercana, Santa Teresita.

El martes, la Comisión de Policía de Los Ángeles decidió requerirle a sus oficiales a que regularmente tomen un entrenamiento “basado en la realidad”. Matt Johnson, presidente de la comisión, dijo que quiere más entrenamientos que saquen a los oficiales de las aulas, alejados de las computadoras”, y que los pongan en “escenarios de la vida real” con la esperanza de que esto apacigüe las situaciones precarias.

Para uno de los oficiales del LAPD, este involucramiento positivo con los residentes de Ramona Gardens es como él piensa combatir los años de desconfianza y aliviar la tensión.

“Aunque no lo crea, la gente aquí nos quiere”, le dijo el oficial Rivas a EGP el lunes.

Rivas es uno de los 10 oficiales parte de la unidad, LAPD’s Community Safety Partnership (CSP), basada en la estación de Hollenbeck y exclusivamente asignada a Ramona Gardens. Desde el 2011, la misión de la unidad ha sido mejorar las relaciones entre la comunidad y reducir el crimen. Sus esfuerzos se han enfocado en proveer servicios para apartar a los niños, de los complejos de viviendas de bajos recursos, de la Pandilla Hazard, quien por generaciones ha llamado al área su hogar.

“Estamos aquí para romper el ciclo” dijo Rivas.

Después de sus patrullas diarias, los oficiales regresan a la comunidad a entrenar a los niños en programas extracurriculares. Estos incluyen programas de fútbol americano, béisbol, boxeo y danzas folclóricas. Los oficiales también planifican eventos comunitarios y sirven como chaperónes en excursiones a eventos deportivos, parques de atracciones y a museos.

A principio, los padres, algunos de ellos ex pandilleros, estaban inseguros en relacionarse con los oficiales y mucho más de permitir que sus hijos participaran en las actividades. Fue difícil superar sus impresiones del LAPD de abuso, fuerza excesiva y caracterizaciones raciales que habían visto en su propio territorio.

Sin embargo, durante los últimos cinco años, varios padres han tenido un cambio de actitud y más de 100 niños entre las edades de 6 a 19 participan actualmente en los programas ofrecidos por el CSP, de acuerdo a Rivas.

“La mayor demostración de confianza es que los padres les permitan a los oficiales el interactuar con sus hijos”, señaló la hermana Antczak.

Tres de los hijos de Rudy Espinoza participan en el programa. Él ha vivido en Ramona Gardens toda su vida y recuerda que había un tiempo en el que nunca se podría haber acercado a una patrulla, mucho menos dejar que sus hijos interactuaran con los policías.

“Los niños se sienten seguros en su presencia”, el admite ahora. “[El programa] ha establecido confianza, especialmente entre las generaciones jóvenes”, le dijo a EGP el lunes.

Alejandro Cruz, de 14 años le dijo a EGP que él se unió al programa de mala gana cuando tenía 8 años.

“Al principio, no les tenía confianza”, dijo él. “Pero mi mamá sabía de que iba a llegar la hora en que las pandillas iban a intentar reclutarme”, explicó.

Desde entonces, Cruz se ha unido al club de corredores, el de fútbol americano y ha asistido a juegos de los Dodgers y también ha visitado a Knott’s Berry Farm con los oficiales.

“Me han motivado e inspirado a mudarme fuera de los proyectos [de residencia pública] y sacarle más a la vida”, dijo el estudiante de Cathedral High School.

Varias madres solteras en el área también se amparan en los programas, explica la hermana Antczak.

Nuestros oficiales a veces sirven como figuras paternas para los niños, agregó el oficial Rivas.

“Les decimos, ‘no es en dónde vives sino lo que decides hacer con tu vida’ que importa”, explicó.

En lugar de tener temor de huir de la policía, como lo hicieron en el pasado, Antczak le dijo a EGP que ahora ve frecuentemente a las personas, incluyendo a los niños, acercándoseles voluntariamente a los oficiales que patrullan el vecindario.

Ella recuerda una vez que se preocupó porque vio a dos niños de octavo grado corriéndose de un evento religioso, pero a su sorpresa, lo hacían para ir a saludar a los oficiales locales y estaban carcajeándose cuando los encontraron.

“Quien hubiera pensado de que estos jóvenes, al ver a la policía corrieran hacia ellos?”

No obstante, no todos piensan de la misma manera o ven las interacciones con el LAPD con buenos ojos.

Varios activistas locales todavía desconfían en la policía y señalan a los recientes encuentros como prueba de que todavía hay un largo camino por recorrer antes de que crean que las cosas han cambiado.

Dos meses atrás, Jesse Romero, un adolescente de 14 años fue tiroteado por oficiales policiales en Boyle Heights durante una persecución a pie. Conmovidos por las noticias de encuentros policiales con afro americanos y protestas en otras partes del país, activistas locales se indignaron que una llamada reportando vandalismo acabara en un tiroteo y en la muerte de un joven. Protestas y demandas para la justicia siguen en marcha por los hechos.

Hay informes contradictorios acerca de que si Romero le disparó a los oficiales ya que un testigo asegura de que el joven tiró una pistola por encima de un cerca, la cual se disparó inadvertidamente.

Carlos Montes, activista de la comunidad por varios años, ha estado luchando contra el uso excesivo de fuerza por el LAPD y recientemente ayudó a organizar varias protestas en respuesta a la muerte de Romero.

Actualmente, es difícil evaluar si las relaciones entre el LAPD y la comunidad han mejorado realmente, le dijo a EGP, señalando que han habido cinco tiroteos involucrando a oficiales en Boyle Heights desde febrero.

“Hay policías que quieren matar y quieren disparar”, asegura él. “Hay un problema sistemático…cuándo fue la última vez que un policía fue procurado por asesinato?”, preguntó, demostrando que aun existen aquellos que desconfían que la justicia llegue en los casos de brutalidad policial.

Montes mantiene que el CSP es solamente un esfuerzo de “relaciones públicas” del LAPD para no discutir el problema central.

“Ramona Garden ha tenido un historial de brutalidad policial y de muertes de policías”, Montes dijo. “Ellos [el LAPD] necesitan dejar de matar a la gente y de apuntarles a los afro americanos y latinos”.

A Cruz, el joven de 14 años, le preocupan los tiroteos involucrando a la policía. Él le dijo a EGP que cuando esos incidentes ocurren, él les pide a los oficiales que le expliquen lo que pasó. De su punto de vista, el LAPD ha mejorado a Ramona Gardens. Él dice que los padres ya no tienen temor de dejar que sus hijos jueguen afuera, algo que no era permitido hacer cuando ellos llegaron al área.

“Se ve peligroso pero se siente más seguro”, él dijo.

Las interacciones positivas entre los oficiales y los niños, por medio del CSP, también han cambiado lentamente la percepción de los padres hacia la policía en Ramona Gardens.

“Los niños son embajadores, en cierta manera”, dijo la hermana Antczak. “Con todo lo que se ha dicho de los oficiales, este programa es la manera de construir la confianza”.

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