Rosa Moreno speaks about her son’s death that occurred in 2017. All photos by Ceferino Martirez.
Long Beach community organizations, in tandem with Los Angeles organizations Say Their Name LA and the Los Angeles chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America, held a vigil this weekend to demand justice for Cesar Rodriguez.
About 20 to 30 people attended the vigil, with more taking part in a caravan to Wardlow Station.
Rodriguez died after a struggle with a police officer led to him being pinned between a train and platform on August 29, 2017. He suffered injuries after being hit by an oncoming train while allegedly being pinned by the officers. Last year, an officer involved in the situation was cleared of wrongdoing by the office of then Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey, saying that the officer acted reasonably when attempting to make an arrest.
During the vigil, Rosa Moreno, mother of Cesar Rodriguez, spoke to the crowd, with the help of a translator, about what her son meant to her and how the police took her only son from this world.
“We’re asking justice for our son,” Moreno said as she began to cry. “It’s not fair that they would take the lives of our son’s away. The police get to go home to see their children, but I don’t.”
Evelia Granados spoke about her brother and how empty things have become because of her brothers’ death, as well as how she and her family cope with ongoing harassment by the police.
“Our loved one was stolen from us, he was so young and had a life ahead of him,” Granados said. “It’s the whole system you know. I appreciate [everyone for coming] on behalf of my family”
Val Rivera, mother of the late Eric Rivera, was also present in solidarity with the Rodriguez family. During the vigil she condemned the police system for how her son Eric was shot by police after they allegedly thought a toy gun was an actual pistol.
“They get to go home. They get to laugh. They get to eat with their families. They get to celebrate,” Rivera spoke as she began to sob. “And they kill my kid because of what?! My son had a ‘look of anger’?”
During the vigil, many speakers and attendees criticized Jackie Lacey, the former district attorney of LA County, because of her lack of involvement in bringing justice for victims of police violence. They expressed hope that current LA County District Attorney George Gascón will open up those cases as soon as possible, saying they will not rest until Rodriguez’s killer and those of other victims have been brought to justice.