Nearly a year after Anaheim police shot and killed an unarmed man in a standoff, his family and supporters gathered Saturday to honor him and send a message to the state Department of Justice.
The #JusticeforBrandonLopez event will feature numerous speakers, including the families of others killed by police, as well as live music and food.
Santa Ana City Councilman Jonathan Ryan Hernandez said they want to see “accountability and justice” in shootings involving police.
September 28, 2021 Anaheim police killed Hernandez’s cousin Brandon Lopez after a manhunt and hours-long standoff in Santa Ana that culminated in police Throws flashbangs at the car Lopez is in to force him to leave.
When Lopez got out of the car, police said they believed they saw a gun.
“Here! Guns! Guns!” an officer shouted.
Officer fired. The black object Lopez was holding was not a gun. It was a small Guess bag containing a crumpled empty water bottle.
RELATED: Anaheim police release video of September’s fatal shooting of Santa Ana man
Anaheim police and Attorney General Rob Bonta’s office continue to investigate the case. Under a state law that took effect last year, the California Department of Justice must independently investigate police-involved shootings that killed unarmed people.
“Our thoughts go out to the family at this difficult time. While this is a complex incident and our officers are acting in the best interest of public safety, it is still under review both internally and by the State of California. We want to respect The process and let it work,” City of Anaheim spokesman Mike Lester said Friday.
Meanwhile, a spokesman for Bonta’s office said in an email Friday that there was no update on the attorney general’s investigation.
Brandon Lopez’s mother, Johanna Lopez, said she was one of dozens of family members who ran to the scene of the confrontation after learning her son was in trouble.
“It’s been a horrible year,” Johanna Lopez said. “It’s been tough for our family. It’s tough for Brandon’s kids.”
Tattoo artist Brandon Lopez is behind four children, aged 12 to 17. His family filed wrongful death lawsuits against the cities of Anaheim and Santa Ana in July, accusing police of excessive force and negligence.
RELATED: Santa Ana City Councilman Says Anaheim Police Shot Dead
Wrongful death lawsuits are ongoing in federal court, but a jury trial has not yet been scheduled. Earlier this month, attorneys and officials representing Anaheim temporarily delayed discovery of the case until the California Department of Justice completed its investigation into the shooting.
Woodland Hills attorney Dale Gallipo, who is representing the family, said on Friday he did not expect to see “any further delays.”
“We want to move forward and get the full investigative report,” Gallipo said.
A court hearing to discuss Anaheim’s request is scheduled for mid-October.
For the Lopez family, meanwhile, the past year has meant a lot of hardship, but also “connecting and working with other families going through similar situations,” Johanna Lopez said.
Sponsored by the Los Angeles-based non-profit AFTP Foundation in conjunction with Families United, Saturday’s event will feature a number of speakers. Among them was Fred Hampton’s son, Fred Hampton Jr., a black party leader who was killed in his bedroom by Chicago police during a predawn raid in 1969.
Another speaker was Leila Steinberg, whose son was killed by Oakland police in 2015. Steinberg runs a nonprofit called Aim4theHeart and wrote the foreword to Tupac Shakur’s collection of poems, titled: Roses Growing From Concrete.
The title of Saturday’s event was: “Rose in Concrete.”
The event will be held at The Blue Lot at 119 North Bush Street from noon to 5pm. in Santa Ana. Performers include Lighter Shade of Brown, Funk Freaks and Redbone.
A month after Lopez’s shooting, a similar event drew about 1,000 attendees, Hernandez said.
“We’re expecting a big crowd,” he said. “It will be family friendly, educational and informative.”
“People are not going to leave this event sad or hopeless. I think they will be inspired, involved and raise their voices.”
Staff writer Sean Emery contributed to this report.