BAMN

Justice for Omar Abrego! Put LAPD Sergeants Roberto Calderon and Jeff Mares on Trial for Murder!


 

omar-abrego-cowboy-hat-picture

Omar Abrego

  • Jail Killer Cops

  • A Badge is Not a License to Kill!

  • Stop the Policy of Cover Up and Blaming the Victim!

  • Down with the New Jim Crow! Down with the New Police State!

  • Build the Independent, Integrated, Youth-Led New Civil Rights & Immigrant Rights Movement – Jobs and Opportunities, Not Second-Class Treatment!


 

 

Fill the Courtroom! Trial to Begin Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Judge Beverly Reid O’Connell, Courtroom 7 C

US Federal Court 350 West 1st Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Trial Starts Tuesday, February 21st, 2017 and will go through the week. Picket outside the court starts at 7:30am. Trial starts at 8:30am.

Contact (323) 208-9751 or (213) 290-1496 for details


To Download a Printable Version of this Post, Click the Link Below:

In English: omar-trial-flyer-english-10-08-16-formatted

In Spanish: omar-trial-flyer-spanish-10-08-16-formatted

(Contact us if you would like to help get people to the trial.)


 

Put the LAPD on Trial!

Jail Killer Cops Sgts. Roberto Calderon and Jeff  Mares for the Murder of Omar Abrego!

Sgt. Calderon and Mares Will Take the Stand

 

Over the course of the next period of time, Lilia Abrego Figueroa and her husband Leo will face their son’s murderers, in open court, as the trial will begin and jury selection will be underway in Lilia Abrego Figueroa v. City of Los Angeles and Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD). Lilia and Leo will be represented by attorneys from BAMN (Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action Integration and Immigrant Rights and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary). LAPD officers Roberto Calderon, Jeff Mares and the LAPD itself will be put on trial for the beating death of unarmed Omar Abrego on August 2, 2014. The truth, despite the attempts of the LAPD and the District Attorney (DA) to sweep it under the rug, will come out during these proceedings. The question that the jury will face is the following: Is it acceptable for a traffic stop to end in the death of an unarmed man?

 

This will be a high profile case and focus attention on police brutality in our city. We must make clear, by filling Judge Beverly Reid O’Connell’s courtroom for this trial, that we do not accept the New Jim Crow racist police brutality and second-class treatment of the Latina/o and black communities of our city.

 

Recently, murders by LAPD and LA County Sheriffs have increased and have included multiple teenagers, one as young as fourteen. This trial is an important opportunity. There is a tremendous gulf between what the Mayor and the LAPD believe is acceptable and what the people of LA believe is acceptable. This gulf must be revealed in this trial. We are the conscience of our city and we must make it clear we demand justice. What we are trying to do is difficult. Those who are the most optimistic and angry of us must come forward now. By coming to this trial you are being a leader. Some of us may be afraid to be leaders, but we must begin to shed our fears. Win or lose this trial – and we believe we can win – we must use it to create the conditions for the further growth and power of our new movement.

 

August 2, 2014: Sgt. Calderon and Sgt. Mares Rip Two Families Apart


Below is a video playlist that shows a portion of Omar’s murder and the large police presence that follows. Also for viewing is BAMN’s Public Tribunal which covered the facts regarding Omar’s murder as we knew them at the time.

 

Omar Abrego was thirty-seven years old, married, and had three children at the time of his murder on Saturday August 2, 2014. On that day he planned to see his mother Lilia and his father Leo. He especially loved his mother and spoke to her every day. He wore his love for her in a tattoo over his heart in her honor. He had traveled from Mexico to America to be with her and his father. While here in America he had worked hard to provide for his own family as a package deliverer. They spoke all the time, so when Lilia and Leo did not hear from Omar after several calls went unanswered, they went to Omar’s house because it was unusual for him not to answer or call. Omar is not with us anymore, but his parents will help us to reveal a part of what happened the day he was murdered, and the behavior of one of the murderers.

 

When Lilia and Leo arrived at Omar’s house on Main St. where Omar lived with his family, the street was filled with police and police squad cars. When they parked, Sgt Calderon was there to greet them at the caution tape (Sgt. Calderon had just murdered Omar with his partner Mares not long before. Lilia and Leo do not know this at the time). During their conversation with Calderon in which they spoke in Spanish, he was eerily calm. He said that officers beat Omar but led Lilia and Leo to believe Omar’s injuries were not that bad. He even suggested it was the officers that were hurt worse than Omar. It was Sgt. Calderon himself who helped do the beating but he kept that to himself! (In the video mentioned above obtained from a witness, Calderon can be seen on top of Omar pinning him to the ground while Omar is bleeding onto the concrete from his head). During the conversation, Sgt. Calderon learns that Lilia and Leo are Omar’s parents then directs them to the wrong hospital on purpose. When Omar’s parents get back to Omar’s house maybe a half hour later from the wrong hospital, Calderon is still there and speaks to them again, eerily calm as before, and tells them the correct hospital but then says they will not be able to see Omar until he made a court appearance a few days later because he was in custody. Thinking that they would not be allowed access to him and that his injuries were not that bad, Lilia and Leo went home for the night to get some rest.

 

At Lilia’s urging she and Leo went to the correct hospital the next day and discovered Omar had passed, his injuries were a lot worse than what they were led to believe by Sgt Calderon. Calderon had Lilia’s number but she never received a phone call about the condition of her son. Sgt. Calderon on that day took the life of someone with a useful human purpose and helped with the beginning stages of the cover-up, calmly and confidently – without emotion, keeping Omar’s parents away just long enough so that Omar’s parents would never have the possibility of saying goodbye or learning from Omar what happened to him. Despite Omar’s state, possibly a mother’s love could have given him the spirit to speak to communicate with them about what happened, but his parents had that taken from them by Calderon. Omar left behind not only his mother, father, two brothers and a sister he left behind his wife and three children, all of their lives changed forever.

 

The Murder:

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Diagram Taken from Autopsy Report Showing Injuries Made to Omar’s Body


 

According to LAPD Sgt. Roberto Calderon and Sgt. Jeff Mares they begin their encounter with Omar by conducting a “traffic stop” as a result of supposed “erratic” driving on Omar’s part. For awhile they simply follow him without their lights on even though they say Omar almost ran a woman over. The “traffic stop”, when it is finally executed is done with their lights off when Omar pulls over in front of his house. Once they exit their vehicle they approach Omar’s work van with their guns drawn. They claim Omar ran once he exited the van, but the entire encounter begins and ends in front of Omar’s home. Sgt. Mares will say in court that he punched Omar in his head three or four times to defend himself. Mares was wearing body armor, and both officers claim they were restraining both of Omar’s Arms, but Mares says Omar tried to punch him, only grazing his uniform, which is how he justifies himself punching Omar with a very heavy hand, which most likely was aided by a very heavy object in his fist, because Mares broke his hand when he punched Omar’s head, breaking Omar’s head wide open.

 

Omar was unarmed and smaller than both of the officers who kill him, and his encounter with these two officers ended with Omar pinned by the officer’s, face down in his own blood having suffered a severe concussion and bleeding in his brain according to the autopsy report. The huge gash above Omar’s eyebrow was spilling blood onto the concrete, as he was stretched across the curb, half in the street in front of his home.

 

Omar was unable, the entire time during the beating until he passed away, to speak a single word or even stand on his own according to police and medics. Omar lies dying with multiple officers on top of him. Officers roll Omar around repeatedly while he is handcuffed and they put their weight on him while he is face down, on his side and while on his back as well. Over twenty officers arrive on the scene and each one to this day participates in the cover-up of Omar’s murder. Currently the police have a witness list of over 100 people, the vast majority of which are police who could be enlisted as part of the cover-up in court.

 

Incapacitated and dying, it takes four officers to pick Omar off the ground and onto the ambulance gurney. By the time Omar arrives at the hospital he is near death and dies the next morning. Nevertheless the city and the police will say in court that Omar fought them the whole time, even despite what they have said themselves about Omar’s actual condition.

 

Within six days following their murder of Omar the LAPD knows the coroner’s report will say Omar’s death was a homicide so they withhold it from being released for six months. They use this time to spread more lies about Omar. Omar’s supposed use of cocaine on the day they murdered him forms the basis of much of their slander of Omar during this time. While cocaine was not found in Omar at the hospital, the coroner finds cocaine six days later during an autopsy conducted with police officers in the room the entire time. A toxicology expert will testify on Omar’s behalf that it would take up to 900 times more cocaine in Omar’s system than the coroner says he found, to make Omar behave the way the police say he behaved. The expert says the amount found in Omar was insignificant and would not even affect his driving. The police present Omar as something like a crazed animal, even though that is far from anything revealed by the facts. The city and the police intend this to serve as a distraction during the trial from the unwarranted brutality of Calderon and Mares. We cannot be distracted.

 

Sgt. Calderon and Sgt. Mares received promotions months following this gruesome event and also had their names cleared by the Police Commission. It appears that whatever else it takes to gain in esteem and rank in the LAPD, callous disregard for life displayed in action puts you in high regard.

 

Fill the Courtroom! Take Matters Into Our Own Hands! No Reliance on the Courts, LAPD, the Mayor, or Police Commission

Lilia and Leo are long time residents of Watts and South Central. They signed with lawyers from BAMN because they want justice for their son. If that means putting the officers on the stand, fired and in jail – they want to do what is necessary to win that. Right now they want to fight and force the officers to take the stand in front of a jury to be exposed as the liars and brutal murderers that they are. Omar’s parents knew that BAMN was building a movement and they have thrown their support behind this effort. The DA and the police attempted to intimidate Lilia and Leo during pre-trial proceedings in part by loading each hearing with officers, most of who were on the scene when Omar was murdered or drag family members in for questioning about nonsense. Despite these attempts by the city and the police to intimidate Lilia, Leo and their family, they have remained firm in their stand.

 

Despite having the truth on our side we must not maintain any illusions that the legal process will deliver justice without our action in the streets and the courtroom. The LAPD has executed a thoroughgoing cover-up. The Coroner’s office also participated in the cover-up, stating in the autopsy report that Omar banged his own head on the ground causing massive bleeding. He will be exposed when he takes the stand as well.

 

During the trial the LAPD and the DA will attempt to hit the jury over the head with the same lies over and over again in the hopes that if they say it enough some of the lies will stick. They will state lies and innuendo as facts. They will be bullies. During a hearing for the case the police lawyer shouted to the judge about how Omar’s children should be kept out of the case because, “all they’re gonna do is cry on the stand and influence the jury!”

 

The existence of this trial provides the Latina/o, black communities, and immigrant communities, and all those who demand an end to what is now the routine murder of black and Latina/o people on our streets by police, the opportunity to be leaders. Our presence in the courtroom during this trial will change the dynamic of the court proceedings and is the only possibility of winning in the courts, even with the most aggressive legal strategy BAMN lawyers can and will employ.

 

We cannot assume an unbiased hearing from the judge either. While we don’t yet know exactly how Judge O’Connell will behave during trial, it is worth noting that federal judges spend most of their time these days deporting immigrants whose only crime was that they crossed the border more than once. Already she has given the city and police lawyers twice as much time as each plaintiff to make their case.

 

To win, the jury must come to understand that Omar’s murder is a matter of concern to the entire city of Los Angeles not simply a grieving yet strong mother and father. The DA, judge and jury must feel that the relevance of the democratic process to the Latina/o and black communities is being judged through this trial. Large groups of people attending court hearings, is not something federal judges are used to seeing. Our presence will determine whether or not the jury hears all the evidence; it will embolden the strongest jurors on our side and give confidence to those who testify to tell the truth. Additionally we can shake the confidence of any witness intent on telling lies – namely the police, Coroner and those who will testify on their behalf. And lastly those who attend the trial will be able to spread the truth throughout Los Angeles and beyond not just about Omar’s murder but the conduct of the attorneys, the jury and the judge. We are the conscience of our city. We must be bold on the days of this trial and do whatever is necessary to be there.

 

Jail Killer Cops – The Beginnings of the Struggle Against Police Brutality in Los Angeles: What We Have Achieved So Far

We must treat this trial as only the beginning of a fight not the end of one. The marches and public campaign that BAMN has led in Los Angeles to win justice for Omar Abrego has made important gains that we can learn from for the future of struggles against police brutality in our city.

 

When police murder people we must march immediately. Marching and telling the truth have been central to getting as far as we have in Omar’s case. After Omar’s murder we marched for over two weeks through his neighborhood. We marched for Omar and also for a young black man named Ezell Ford murdered by officers from the same Newton Division where Calderon and Mares were stationed. We showed black and Latina/o can unite. When Omar was murdered we said “Release the names of the killer cops! – Jail the killer cops!” Our marches mobilized our communities. Honking cars, cheers, and inspiration greeted the marchers and the latest updates were shared of what we had uncovered about their murders. Winning the public release of the officers names made it possible to shine a spotlight on the officers so they could be publicly scrutinized.

 

The fear that is normally felt towards the police was shed just enough for some to tell BAMN what they saw, and one person was inspired enough to give BAMN a video of the murder. This video has since been viewed over 20,000 times on YouTube along with BAMN’s description of what is occurring in the video. All over LA now there are people who know the truth of what happened and can communicate it and counter the lies of the police. The power of our marches won a declaration of a homicide by the Coroner despite the cover-up. Each gain has allowed us to get at more of the truth.

 

BAMN’s public tribunal held just over two weeks after our marches began brought together the facts that were gathered during our independent community investigation. This helped counter more of the police lies.

 

The votes from BAMN’s Public Tribunal are below:

  1. Jail LAPD Officers Sharlton Wampler and Antonio Villegas who murdered Ezell Ford. Jail Sgts. Robert Calderon and Jeff Mares who murdered Omar Abrego.
  2. Keep marching! Continue to build our power by marching on August 30, 2014 and beyond.

 

We are gaining an understanding of a method that can win. We have the truth on our side, and a sleeping giant waiting to be awakened. Our majority minority city, can command the attention of the whole country when its Latina/o, black and immigrant communities stand up and fight, and when we do Asian, and white will join us fighting side by side. The obscene number of people who have died at the hands of the police is unacceptable. Those who use this trial to mobilize can be leaders of our whole city and our whole nation. There were many people outside during Omar’s murder. They were not able to save Omar’s life, but if we use this trial to make this fight we can build the kind of struggle that can prevent future Omar’s from dying. Jail the killer cops! A Badge is not a license to kill!