Around 80 protesters marched and rallied in downtown Long Beach on Sunday, Feb. 23, demonstrating against three recent incidents of police brutality that have occurred in the city within the span of a week.
The “Stop LBPD Brutality” rally at Harvey Milk Promenade Park was organized by local activist organizations the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) Long Beach Chapter, People’s Revolutionary Party Long Beach and the Long Beach Anarchist Collective.
Sheila Bates from the Black Lives Matter Long Beach chapter spoke at the rally regarding recent incidents of police brutality, specifically the arrest of Eugene Martindale III, 24, on 4th Street and Atlantic Avenue on Feb. 15 where a Long Beach Police Department (LBPD) officer appeared to strike the man several times on the legs with his baton while Martindale was on the ground and subdued by another officer; the murder of Kerry Michael Bounsom, 33, who was killed in an officer-involved shooting on Rhea Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue on Feb. 16; and the death of Luis Ramirez, 22, on Feb. 20th, who was killed in an officer-involved shooting on Atlantic Avenue and Market Street.
Following the rally the protesters marched from the promenade through Pine Avenue and onto Ocean Boulevard.
Emily Hubbard from the People’s Revolutionary Party led many of the chants saying, “No justice, no peace, abolish police,” “Money for schools, not for cops, money for housing, not for cops,” “LBPD off our streets” and “no more beatings no more death, no more cops is what we said.”
The protesters marched to 2nd District council candidate Cindy Allen’s campaign office headquarters at 432 W Ocean Blvd. Protesters walked up to the office doors and attempted to open them but they were closed. No one appeared to be inside the campaign office.
Jordan Doering, a representative with the DSA spoke in front of Allen’s campaign office.
“You’re probably wondering why we’re not at City Hall right now, this is because this is Cindy Allen’s campaign HQ. If you don’t know Cindy Allen, she’s a former LBPD officer who was on the [expletive] drug squad in the 90s–– just to give you an idea of who she is,” Doering said. “I think she heard that we were pissed off today and ran, this office is locked up. They’re supposed to be door knocking right now, I don’t know where they are, but I think they’re hiding.”
Victor Bouz, another representative with the DSA spoke about some of the alleged claims that were recently brought to light in a Beachcomber article, regarding Allen’s alleged “campaign fraud.”
“Airbnb, that’s her residence in Long Beach, it was still up as of last week, she has a company that has contracts with the City of Long Beach, that company was never sold,” Bouz claimed. “She’s backed by Mayor Garcia, backed by the police and she does not deserve our vote. She does not represent anybody who’s here right now. This is why we’re here, to show her that we will not stand for more cops on council, no more capitalists on counsel, and [expletive] the police.”
The Signal Tribune reached out to Allen via email on Monday, Feb. 24 with questions about the claims made in the article and expressed during the rally. Allen responded and agreed to receive questions via email. She has not replied as of press time.
Protesters then chanted, “no more cops on council”; “Black lives matter”; “blue lives murder,” before they continued marching onto Ocean Boulevard, through Magnolia Avenue, and onto Broadway where they reached the LBPD building.
Dawn Modkins, a representative of Black Lives Matter Long Beach chapter, spoke in front of the building asking for a moment of silence for Donte Jordan, 39, Tyler Woods, 19, Noel Aguilar, 23, Hector Morejon, 19, Jason Conoscenti, 36, and six others who were all killed during police apprehensions.
“We already have representatives of police on council, as much power as they already have behind the scenes they don’t deserve a seat on the front end too, that is the power of the bad men,” Modkins said.
She was referring to Councilmember Suzie Price who represents the 3rd District and has worked as a Deputy District Attorney for 20 years and Stacey Mungo who represents the 5th District and is a Reserve Deputy Sheriff.
The protestors then returned to Harvey Milk Promenade Park and hosted a concluding rally.
“We know that one incident is too many, we know it doesn’t have to be this way. We know that this ends differently depending on race,” Bates said. “Black and brown folks are physically being more likely to be on the receiving end of police brutality.”
During the closing rally, Bates made a reference to TigerText, a text-messaging mobile application that automatically deletes conversations over a certain amount of time and was reportedly used by some LBPD officers.
“We cannot trust the police, they are corrupt, destroying evidence through an app called TigerText, a self-deleting app where messages are deleted and officers in the gang-unit and internal affairs used it,” Bates claimed.
As reported in a prior issue of the Signal Tribune, an Al Jazeera article purported that anonymous LBPD officers informed the publication that TigerText was used to share details of police operations and personnel issues. Moreover, two officers allegedly stated that they were instructed by superiors to “have conversations with other officers that wouldn’t be discoverable.”
“We need to stay on top of local officials, I advise that you look really hard into your district city-council person, especially those who have races this year including district two, six and eight,“ Bates said. “Why vote for those who rubber stamp this corrupt behavior, or worse, vote for a former cop like Cindy Allen, who will give the police more control.”[aesop_gallery id=”47552″ revealfx=”inplace” overlay_revealfx=”inplace”]