From Oscar Grant to Oscar Perez-Giron—No More Police Murder of Our Youth at the Train Stations!

March 11, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


From readers:

Oscar Perez-GironOscar Perez-Giron, loved and missed by many.

Many know of the police murder of Oscar Grant at Fruitvale Bay Area rapid transit station in Oakland in 2009. Here in Seattle, there is an inquest coming up into the murder of another Oscar, at another train station. On June 30, 2014, at the SODO light rail station, Oscar Perez-Giron, a 23-year-old Latino immigrant, was shot to death over a $2.50 train fare.

Oscar had been held at the SODO station because he was suspected of not paying. There were three transit guards and a Sheriff’s deputy, Malcolm Elliott, present. Witnesses say there was no need for deadly force, that Oscar was pinned against a partition by a transit guard when Deputy Elliott reached his pistol in and shot Oscar point blank several times, at which point Oscar fell to the pavement as the cops stood back and watched him die.

The notorious SPD (Seattle Police Department) seized the public security camera footage and refused to release it until they had "improved" it. An SPD spokesman said that when they were done, the video "would not reflect well on the persons involved other than the officer." This took about 10 days. Cops say the released video shows Oscar had a pistol, but many others say the video is not clear even after viewing it multiple times. Police have also published a photo of a pistol they say Oscar had. Oscar’s family says he did not own a pistol and would not be carrying one. They say Oscar had been loaned a pre-paid transit card, and there may have been a problem with it. They also say that detectives have told them conflicting versions of what happened.

Police nationwide have often been caught lying about their murders, and many feel we have no reason to believe them now. Many people have rightly said this situation could have been handled a whole different way. But instead, police escalated the situation and outrageously stole Oscar's life over a fucking $2.50 train fare!


Here is some of the bigger picture behind this killing: Oscar's family is from Mexican city of Mexicali, which Business Week calls "the poster child for NAFTA," the U.S. imperialist program which ruined living conditions for millions of people in Mexico, driving many north. Oscar was sent to the U.S. when very young with some others. His mother died young, in Mexicali, of dehydration during hot weather. Just one of the horrendous crimes being inflicted on the people of the world by imperialism is the control of water for profit. In a video clip from his talk Revolution: Why It's Necessary, Why It's Possible, What It's All About, Bob Avakian calls out real sharp just WHY people come to the U.S. And when they get here, the constant threat of deportation is used to exploit their labor, deny human rights, silence their voice, and control their behavior. And the ability of the poor to move around and live like human beings is controlled and limited by the transportation system.

Oscar was a Seattleite, and even had the Seahawks football team mascot tattooed on his head. Since age 16 he worked as a day laborer, going to mall parking lots to get landscape and construction work. He wanted to be an auto mechanic. He was the first in his family to get a high school diploma. And he had also got caught up in the juvenile detention system. Oscar had been refused U.S. citizenship, and his family says the only reason he would resist arrest is that he feared being deported back to Mexico. It would be hard for him to get around there because his Spanish was limited. Friends say they feel he was profiled on the train for how he was dressed and appeared. He was loved by many and is very deeply missed.


There have been protests against this killing, supported by family, friends, the immigrant community, and activists. At one, people got on the train together and refused to pay, chanting, "I have not paid, you're going to have to shoot me!" and rode it to the SODO station. One protest sign said "Justice!!! from SODO station to the U.S. border."

Later in the summer, the protest against the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson and Eric Garner in NYC erupted, and the defiance continues to inspire people in Seattle as it has in the rest of the nation. This has elevated many struggles here, including that for justice for Oscar. The Seattle Transit Riders Union recently took up a collection at a showing of the film Fruitvale Station, where family of Oscar Perez-Giron spoke. These funds will support having an independent lawyer present at the inquest to advocate for justice for Oscar.

This February in Pasco, Washington, another Latino immigrant, Antonio Montes-Zambrano, was murdered by police. Many there are also inspired by the defiant ones in Ferguson, and the powers-that-be are working to repress their resistance. Loved ones of Oscar and others killed by police, revolutionaries, and activists from the October 22 Coalition to Stop Police Brutality (Seattle affiliate) traveled there and were welcomed by those standing in defiance. (See "Shut Down the Bridge! Resistance Against the Police Murder of Antonio Montes-Zambrano Continues") There is a movement afoot there, supported by Occupy Tri-Cities and others, to support the Stop Mass Incarceration Network (SMIN) call for a national day of action on April 14 to advance the fight against police murder and stop business as usual across this nation.

The inquest into the slaying of Oscar Perez-Giron is scheduled for March 23 at the King County Courthouse in Seattle. No inquest into a police killing in Washington State has ever resulted in a cop being charged with a crime. In the Seattle area as elsewhere, the legitimacy of the system is suffering because of all the ongoing police brutality and murder. This inquest can be seen as an attempt to regain some of that legitimacy, by showing that something is being done, and at the same time helping to justify the actions of a killer cop. The jury at an inquest is not asked "yes" or "no" whether the killing was right. Instead, they must answer a set of questions framed to try and get the cops off. This is why people must be there to witness what goes down, and to make the court know that what happens there will be made known in the streets, and that the system will pay a political price if it approves yet another police murder!

The October 22 Coalition, revolutionaries, and others are working to get the news of the March 23 inquest out to all, and get people to come. We will demand justice for Oscar Perez-Giron, and also will make known the call for the April 14 nationwide shutdown to stop business as usual, and end police murder. The whole movement against police terror has risen like a wave, and the system has been shocked and is trying hard to defeat this movement. We can't let it get defeated, instead we must push all this forward to a whole new level! And the fight for justice for #OscarPerezGiron is part of that and will be part of April 14!

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