About 40 people gathered in North Long Beach yesterday to commemorate the 2 year anniversary of 23-year-old Noel Enrique Aguilar’s fatal death by gunfire from a Los Angeles sheriff’s deputy.
“Our children should not have to fear the police,” read a sign held high by the mother of Aguilar’s surviving fiancé as she stood in the middle of the intersection capturing the attention of traffic passing by.
On May 26, 2014, a sheriff’s deputy fatally shot Aguilar. Cellphone video that was later released showed two deputies holding Aguilar down on the concrete as the shooting occurred. It also appears to show one deputy accidentally shooting the other deputy, who then reacted and then shot Aguilar multiple times.
The deputies said that they had chased Aguilar on foot and believed he was armed. The Los Angeles District Attorney’s office, which handles Long Beach’s police shooting cases, decided not to press charge against the deputies arguing they had acted out of self-defense.
At the rally, community activists played somber rap songs about police injustices including tracks by G-Unit. The adults conversed with each other as the children wrote Aguilar’s name in chalk on the sidewalk.
Earlier this month, 21-year-old Lionel Gibson was killed by police fire in Long Beach. Gibson’s surviving parents were in attendance at yesterday’s rally with a sign depicting their son, which they held up during a speech that formed into a march.
Mary Herrera, the mother of Aguilar’s daughter Noely, shed tears as she took the microphone. “Our kids can’t even walk the streets because they fear for their lives,” she said, speaking to the Gibson family, adding that the rally sought to unite black and brown residents.