A vigil has been held for a 14-year old Hispanic teenager who was gunned down by Los Angeles police.
The vigil Wednesday night for Jesse Romero was attended by relatives of Jesse Romero and other victims of police brutality at Mariachi Plaza on Pleasant Avenue.
Romero was shot dead the day before in a police shooting that occurred after officers with the Lose Angeles Police Department’s gang unit responded to a vandalism report in Boyle Heights. Romero was suspected of writing gang-style graffiti in the area.
Officers alleged that Romero was armed and that he shot at them before he was killed. No officers were injured in the shooting.
“According to a witness who saw the subject running from the officers, the witness saw the subject shoot a handgun in the direction of the pursuing officers,” said LAPD Deputy Chief Robert Arcos during a news conference.
However, the teen’s relatives have disputed the claim, saying the police shooting was unprovoked.
Details about the witness were not immediately available.
At the vigil, people stood side-by-side, holding candles and signs that read, “El pueblo unido for Jesse,” which means, “The people united for Jesse.”
They also chanted slogans, demanding justice for the teen, who was gunned down just a few weeks shy of his 15th birthday.
Organizers said protesters would later march from the LAPD’s Hollenbeck station to the shooting site.
Romero’s death came as the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department admitted that an unarmed African-American man shot dead by a deputy last month was not a carjacking suspect they were seeking.
Donnell Thompson, 27, was shot at close range on July 28 by a deputy riding an armored vehicle as police were looking for suspects following a car chase and shootout in Compton.
Police killed over 1,150 people in 2015, with the largest police departments disproportionately killing at least 321 African Americans, according to data compiled by an activist group that runs the Mapping Police Violence project.