Kababayans join protests demanding accountability for police officers

SAN FRANCISCO — This is the recently released dash-cam video from when a Minnesota police officer pulled over black motorist Philando Castile back in July 2016.

It was supposed to be a routine traffic stop, until Castile informed the officer revealed that he was carrying a firearm.

St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez fired seven shots — five hitting Castile in front of his girlfriend and her four-year-old daughter, who was sitting in the back seat.

Nearly a year later on June 16th, Yanez was acquitted of second degree manslaughter, and two counts of dangerous discharge of a firearm.

Yanez was also fired from the St. Anthony police.

These kababayans in the Bay Area say that the acquittal of Yanez is yet another example of a broken system that they have lost faith in.

“The issue of Philando Castile, Charleena Lyles, Mike Brown, Oscar Grant; the list goes on and on. It’s just a clear situation of how the police is truly not in service of the people,” said Armael Malinis from Migrante NorCal.

These Filipinos say that police impunity has been an issue long before the recent organizing of the black lives matter movement.

They argue that deadly force is more commonly used on poor people of color, and it does not matter if there are body cameras or witnesses recording video of the incident — it seems the police can do no wrong.

“I don’t think police officers will ever be held accountable at this point because they are the very instrument and tools of state violence… and I think if we want to think about safety and security, we really have to look toward our own communities to be able to do that,” said Pia Cortez from GABRIELA SF.

“Working class people, immigrants, refugees, black folks, brown people need to come together and organize ourselves,” added Malinis. “So what that means is like reinforcing how sanctuary cities really works, kicking out these militarized programs like urban shield, and really creating resiliency in our community.”

Urban Shield is an annual first responder training exercise that has been met with growing protests in the past years.

Meanwhile, despite the acquittal of Officer Yanez, the family of Castile reached a $3 million settlement with the city of St. Anthony, Minnesota.

 

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