The Mission (SF) Marches, Rallies for Justice for Amilcar Perez-Lopez

by Evan P. Matthews at Anti Police-Terror Project 
Originally Published on IndyBay 

On April 24, neighbors for Justice for Amilcar held a vigil and march in honor of Amilcar Perez-Lopez, killed by SFPD on February 26, 2015.

Friday evening, concerned community members organized a vigil, march, and rally calling for justice in the state-killing of Amilcar Perez-Lopez. Shot six times in the back, once in the head by San Francisco Police Department, Amilcar was remembered and honored by all present as an honest, hard-working man. Friends, neighbors, and concerned individuals from throughout the Bay gathered at the site of the state-killing on Folsom street between 24th street and 25th street for a moving vigil. After the vigil, the nearly crowd of nearly 200 marched to the Mission Police District for a rally and die-in. The march was led by powerful, native Aztec dancers in ceremonial costume. Organized by the Justice for Amilcar committee, the march included members of the Mission faith community, Supervisor Dave Campos, Homies Organizing the Mission to Empower Youth (HOMEY), and the San Francisco Organizing Project/Peninsula Interfaith Action (SFOP/PIA).

The action, held in the historic yet gentrifying Mission district, came on the heels of a press-conference in which the results of an independent autopsy were announced to the public. Conducted by the Sonoma County coroners office, the autopsy revealed disturbing conflicts in the story originally given by SFPD and Police Chief Greg Suhr. The police chief stated on March 2nd during a town-hall that Amilcar charged at the police with a knife raised. This story, though always contradicted by witnesses, was reprinted and published as fact by news outlets throughout the bay area. The press conference also announced the lawsuit filed by the parents of Amilcar against SFPD for their use of excessive, deadly force against their son. The lawsuit also charges SFPD with the failure to appropriately train, discipline, and supervise officers Tiffe and Reboldi.

Amilcar Perez-Lopez is a victim of police-terror, but he is also facing eviction – a fate he shares with people of color throughout the Mission and San Francisco. Speakers at the march connected the threat of eviction with the criminalization of black and brown people in San Francisco. Called by many the “bookends of gentrification,” SFPD has a deep history of criminalizing the presence of people of color, effectively pushing them out of the community they call home. While on Mission St, the march passed the dozens of restaurants patronized by the mostly white, young people who are the tenants that replace working class folks like Amilcar.

Hundreds of photos of all the community response to the death of Amilcar can be found on the Justice 4 Amilcar Perez-Lopez facebook group:http://www.facebook.com/groups/353672264838421/

Hashtags for the event:
#Justice4Amilcar
#6shots2theback
#JusticeForAmilcar
#AmilcarPerezLopez
#SFPDCoverUp

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Community and Faith Leaders Call for Prayer Vigil and Accountability of SFPD in Response to Autopsy Report of Amilcar Perez Lopez

Community and Faith Leaders Call for Prayer Vigil and Accountability of SFPD in Response to Autopsy Report of Amilcar Perez Lopez

DATE: Friday, April 24 at 6PM

LOCATION: Starting on Folsom between 24th and 25th St, passing the Mission Police Station and ending at St. John the Evangelist Church, 1661 15th St.

WHO: Clergy, community members, families of victims of police shootings and Supervisor David Campos

Media Visuals: Prayer vigil, clergy praying, singing and marching, signs, Clergy in religious garb, Testimonies from families.

San Francisco, CA– On Friday, April 24, religious leaders and community members will come together for a prayer vigil and march in response to the findings of an autopsy on Amilcar Perez Lopez, who was killed in late February near Folsom and 24th Streets.

Faith Leaders and Community Organizations are outraged by the revelation that the young man was shot 6 times in the back – the fourth shooting death by SFPD in 2 years

The autopsy report, released this morning, reveals that Lopez was shot six times4 in the back, 1 in the arm and 1 in the head – after having dropped a knife and while attempting to run away from police, contradicting police statements that they were being attacked by Lopez and acted in self-defense.

“The situation is even worse than we had imagined,” says Roberto E. Alfaro, director of HOMEY, a youth development and violence prevention organization in San Francisco. “Not only was a young, hard-working man in our community killed by police, but it is now clear that the shooting was completely unjustified. This is the fourth police murder in two years in San Francisco. This must stop.”

Community members are being asked to gather tonight at the site of Lopez’s death to begin a prayer vigil and walk. The walk will take participants to the Mission Police Station and end at St. John the Evangelist Episcopal Church, where Lopez’s funeral was held two weeks ago.

“It’s time for faith leaders and community members to step up and hold law enforcement and the criminal justice system accountable for what it is doing to our young people and our communities,” says Fr. Richard Smith, vicar of St. John the Evangelist Episcopal Church and member of SFOP/PIA, a network of faith communities working on justice issues. “We will not stand quiet and let our people be gunned down by police. We will be working to change the system that allows this. This is only a first step.”

The Vigil and March is being led by the Justice for Amilcar committee and supported by HOMEY, the San Francisco Organizing Project/Peninsula Interfaith Action (SFOP/PIA) and others.

#justice4amilcar, www.justice4amilcar.org

________________________________________

Homies Organizing the Mission to Empower Youth (HOMEY) is a citywide non-profit organization that has been serving at-risk transitional aged youth (TAY) by equipping them with the 21st Century Skills necessary to achieve success in higher education institutions and the workforce since 1999. Throughout its history in San Francisco, HOMEY has been regarded not only as a safe haven for opportunity youth, but it is a place where youth gain valuable life skills and development. Recently, HOMEY was honored as a UCSF 2014 Community-Academic Partnership recipient, and 2014 Latino Community Foundation “Leading Change” awardee. For more information go to: www.homey-sf.org | FB: www.facebook.com/homeysf | Twitter: @homeysf | IG: @homey_sf

SFOP/PIA is a network of faith communities committed to ensuring that the dignity of all members of our community is upheld. Through leadership development, civic engagement, and lifting up of our faith values we strive to make sure that every person receives the respect, justice, and opportunity they deserve. www.sfop.org | www.facebook.com/sanfranciscoorganizingproject

Amilcar’s Family Demands Answers

Photos from Amilcar Perez Lopez’s home village in Guatemala courtesy of the legal team:

Outside their home

Familia Perez Lopez exigimos que se aclare el asesinato de nuestro hijo. Asesinado 26/02/15 por la policia de San Francisco, CA. / The Perez-Lopez family demands answers regarding the murder of our son. Killed 02/26/15 by police in San Francisco, CA.

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Amilcar’s entire community of origin in Guatemala comes out to mourn their loss and support the family.

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From Amilcar’s funeral in Guatemala. The family received a large card from friends, neighbors, and supporters of Amilcar in the U.S.

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Latest Evidence Disproves SFPD Chief Suhr’s Version of the Killing of Amilcar Perez-Lopez

For Immediate Release:

Latest Evidence Disproves SFPD Chief Suhr’s Version of the Killing of Amilcar Perez-Lopez

Outraged Mission Community to Hold Vigil and March

What: Interfaith vigil and march in response to latest evidence that Amilcar Perez Lopez was murdered by SFPD
When: Friday, April 24, 6pm
Where: Beginning on Folsom Street, between 24th and 25th Streets

This Friday morning, April 24th, lawyers representing Amilcar Perez-Lopez and his family in Guatemala will file a lawsuit in the Northern District Federal Court in San Francisco seeking accountability for the killing of Amilcar by San Francisco plainclothes officers on February 26th. The Federal Complaint will reveal the true facts behind Amilcar’s heinous death, completely at odds with Chief Greg Suhr’s story.

Those of us in the Mission neighborhood know that the facts are not as the police have reported to the media. We know that the truth about how Amilcar was killed by the police will be revealed when the lawsuit is filed.

This Friday we will gather at the site of his murder on Folsom Street to demand justice for Amilcar, for other victims of racist police violence, and for the Mission District.” said spokesperson for the march and neighbor Florencia Rojo.

Amilcar Perez-Lopez was assassinated in a hail of police bullets three doors away from his Mission apartment on Folsom Street at 9:45 p.m. on February 26th. Soon after, SFPD Chief Greg Suhr blamed Amilcar for his own death at the hands of plainclothes officers. As in each recent shooting case in San Francisco – Alejandro Nieto on March 21, 2014, OShaine Evans on October 7, 2014, and Amilcar on February 26th, Chief Suhr claimed the shootings were justified based on his officers’ “reasonable fear” for their safety.

The evidence revealed on Friday morning, and in particular the autopsy findings, will unequivocally confirm that the officers were in no threat of any danger as Amilcar Perez Lopez was not attacking the officers—but rather fleeing from the officers after having dropped the knife. Most importantly, this evidence will unequivocally confirm that the killing of Amilcar was absolutely unjustified. The SFPD’s official version, which was announced to the public by Chief Suhr, is a fabrication intended to shield the shooting officers from prosecution.

We in the neighborhood knew Amilcar as a hard working, young Guatemalan immigrant struggling to build a decent life for himself in this country. He worked multiple jobs in the construction and the restaurant trades. Despite how hard Amilcar worked, he sent money to his family in Guatemala to help support them. Amilcar was a good human being, a good neighbor and a wonderful provider for his family. There was no reason to shoot him. We will march on Friday with families of other victims of police shootings to demand that the truth come out and justice be done! said Eduardo Roman, a co-worker and friend of Amilcar.

According to march organizer, Father Richard Smith of St. John’s Episcopal Church, “There is a prevalent death culture in the SFPD. They view their mission in our community as a them-against-us situation. I fear for my parishioners and all the innocent youth of color who live with a constant fear that on any day a police bullet may take their young lives. 

I am urging all concerned members of our community to join us for this Fridays vigil and march to stand up for Amilcar and for justice. 

Events and locations:

  • Interfaith vigil with words, music, song, and native dance. On Folsom Street, between 24th and 25th (the site of the killing of Amilcar by SFPD), 6pm
  • March to Mission Police Station
  • Testimonies by families who have lost loved ones to SFPD violence. At Mission Police Station (17th and Valencia Streets)
  • Presentation and conversation with the legal team and free community dinner. At John the Evangelist Episcopal Church on 5th Street and Julian Avenue, between Mission and Valencia)

Audio-visuals:

  • Native Aztec dancers in ceremonial costume
  • Clergy in religious garb
  • Original art and banners by local Mission artists
  • Words, music, songs, chants, native drumming

Contacts:

Father Richard Smith     phone (415) 314-0924     email – Justice4Amilcar@gmail.com
Florencia Rojo                phone (734) 395-9453    email – Justice4Amilcar@gmail.com

Friday 4/24 – 6pm – Justicia para Amilcar/Justice For Amilcar Vigil and March

Neighbors for Justice for Amilcar are holding a Vigil and March in honor of Amilcar Perez-Lopez, killed by SFPD on February 26, 2015.

RSVP here

On Friday, April 24th, on behalf of Amilcar’s family, Attorney Arnoldo Casillas will file a civil lawsuit against the City of San Francisco and officers Craig Tiffe and Eric Reboli who killed Amilcar Perez-Lopez mere feet from his home. At 11:00am Casillas will hold a press conference and reveal information that dramatically contradicts the police narrative of the events of the night Amilcar was shot and killed.

We believe SFPD is involved in a cover-up of facts to avoid criminal and civil accountability for the unlawful killing of Amilcar Perez-Lopez. Join us that evening to mourn this tragic loss in our community, resist the forces of gentrification, and DEMAND JUSTICE for Amilcar.

6:00pm – Vigil begins on the East side of Folsom between 24th and 25th, at the site of the shooting
6:30pm – March begins
7:00pm – Stop at Mission Police Station (630 Valencia)
March will end at St. John the Evangelist Episcopal Church (15th St between
Mission and Valencia)

**Please bring votive candles. We will lay these down at the Mission Police Station to symbolize the loss of Amilcar and other victims of police violence in San Francisco.**

stay involved:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/353672264838421/

Services Held for Amilcar in San Francisco and Guatemala

In the U.S.

On Saturday, April 4, 2015 at 4:00 pm, Amilcar Perez Lopez’s friends and neighbors gathered at St. John the Evangelist Episcopal Church in San Francisco’s Mission District to reflect on Amilcar’s life and renew our commitment to justice for Amilcar. Videos of the service, including the indigenous prayer, words from the Rev’d Dr. Richard Smith, and testimonials from members of Justice for Amilcar Committee, can be found below. The following day, Easter Sunday, the Rev’d. Dr. Richard Smith reflected on Amilcar and other victims of police and state violence in his sermon.

Back in Guatemala

After a month of waiting, Amilcar’s father Juan Perez still had not received his visa to the U.S. At that time Amilcar’s family decided that they wanted his body to return home without further delay. On Monday, April 6, Amilcar’s family received his body in his home village in Guatemala, and in the days that followed his loving community honored Amilcar’s life through tradition, prayer, and worship.

Amilcar was survived by his two loving parents and five younger siblings.

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