August 16, 2020

The L.A. Sheriff’s department held a press conference this week regarding the shooting death of 18-year-old Andrés Guardado, but it’s what officials didn’t say that rang loudest of all. NBC News reports that while officials have said a gun they claimed belonged to the young man was found at the scene, L.A. Sheriff's Department Commander Chris Marks “was unable to answer Wednesday whether Guardado ever aimed the gun at deputies and said there was no evidence he fired the gun at them.”

Guardado’s anguished family is also still waiting for answers as autopsy reports have confirmed that officers likely killed a terrified person: both an independent autopsy and official coroner’s office autopsy have found that the 18-year-old was shot five times in the back.

NBC News reports that Marks claimed that “[t]he department was also unable to find video footage of the shooting from businesses,” but apparently did claim that the auto body shop where the student worked as an unofficial security guard illegally sold nitrous oxide gas to people. To which I’ll ask, so fucking what and how does that lead to shooting someone in the back five times? Fox 11 reports that Marks mentioned two separate drug incidents in the area but conceded “the department has no information linking Guardado to any of the previous incidents at the location.”

“Adam Shea, one of the attorneys representing the Guardado’s family, told NBC News in a statement Wednesday that the sheriff’s office ‘once again’ failed the family,” the report continued. He told NBC News that “[t]he Department's attempt to convolute and cherry pick the facts to create a narrative that links Andres' death to previous incidents of crime near the shop is nothing more than an attempt to justify the killing of this young man.”

While the NBC News report also said that Marks claimed that “Guardado’s DNA was found on the gun’s trigger, trigger guard and magazine,” the officer who has reportedly been identified as his killer has reportedly faced previous accusations of misconduct, including one allegation that he’d loaded the empty gun of a man he’d pulled over. While officer Miguel Vega initially refused to make a statement to investigators following Guardado’s killing, he’s since claimed to investigators that he told Guardado to not reach for the gun that his family continues to insist he would never own in the first place.

Meanwhile, the investigations into his death continue, including a possible probe by the FBI. “FBI Los Angeles is aware of the death of Andres Guardado,” CNN reports officials said, “and will review all available evidence to determine what federal response is warranted.” Accountability is needed: recent data has found that Latinos follow Black Americans in the demographic most affected by police violence.

"It's not an issue that's associated with Latinos in the same way that it's associated with African American men in particular,” Rep. Joaquin Castro recently said according to NPR, “but it has been a real problem for the Latino community throughout the country, particularly in inner city neighborhoods of folks being profiled, folks being killed over the years.”

Republished with permission from Daily Kos.

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