Gathering to Express Love for Nicholas Robertson and Outrage at His Murder by LA Sheriffs

January 18, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper |


From a reader:

Los Angeles, January 9
Los Angeles, January 9. Photo: Special to

On January 9, Nicholas Robertson would have been 29. But instead of coming together for a party, people who loved Nicholas and knew him in different ways during his short life—cousins, his children, guys he grew up with, young women with children, older women, friends—gathered at the gas station where he was killed to express their love for Nicholas and their outrage at his murder by the LA County Sheriff’s Department. As the protest began, a young woman gave a beautiful rendition of “Happy Birthday,” and then, standing in a circle, everyone joined in. It was both heartbreaking and celebratory.

On Saturday morning, December 12, in Lynwood (next door to Watts in Los Angeles), Nicholas was walking in the street with a gun. Less than a minute after two sheriffs arrived on the scene, they opened fire. One fired 16 shots and the other 17. Seared into everyone’s brain is the image from a widely circulated video of the sheriffs reloading and firing repeatedly at Nicholas after he was down. They fired calmly, as if it was target practice, while Nicholas tried to crawl away. No ambulance was called; no medical aid given. Nicholas had not threatened or harmed anyone, but his life was over.

His body lay in the gas station for 13 hours, not even covered, like a warning to the neighborhood.

Friends said Nicholas was the kind of person who would say “when?” if you asked him to help you move. Anger and pain at his loss, and at the disregard for his humanity in the way he died, runs deep, and it concentrates and focuses the anger people feel daily at the occupation of their neighborhood.

On Nicholas’ birthday, after the song, about 40 people marched down Long Beach Boulevard. to the residential street where Nicholas grew up. Fists went up, including from Latino people, and people joined in as marchers passed by shops chanting, “Indict, Convict, Send the Killer Cops to Jail! The Whole Damn System is Guilty as Hell!” A Latina who lives a few blocks away came out with her children, saying that she heard the shots when Nicholas was killed and knew her children would become targets as they grew up. Family members of Jonathan Cuevas, killed by sheriffs on Long Beach Boulevard in 2010, marched in support, as did friends of Johnny Anderson, killed by sheriffs in July in Hawaiian Gardens. “If you’re sick of the murdering police, out of your houses and into the streets!” rang out on Nicholas’ mom’s street.

The Science, The Strategy, The Leadership for an Actual Revolution, And a Radically New Society on the Road to Real Emancipation, by Bob Avakian

Nicholas’ small children joined the march in Stop Mass Incarceration Network T-shirts. People headed back to the boulevard, Lynwood’s main street, and shut it down. “Nicholas was One of Us, the Police Are Murderous!” and “No More! It Stops Today! We Refuse to Live this Way!” Little kids, babies in strollers, young women in the front, guys behind—Long Beach Boulevard was alive with joy and defiance, puncturing the normal routine of occupation, isolation, and fear. A young woman took the bullhorn, saying, “I’m going to call them out—‘No Justice, No Peace! Fuck the Police!’” Ten sheriff’s cars went by slowly on the other side of the street, announcing that people had to get out of the street—and the whole march, far from being intimidated, surged towards them, hollering “Murderers! Murderers!” “Fuck the Police!” At the spot where Jonathan Cuevas was killed, people gathered for a moment, then regrouped, took the street again, and marched back to the gas station where Nicholas was killed.

Among the protesters were many thoughtful people wrangling with big questions: How can we link up with other families protesting murder by police? Why are the police killing people like this? What’s the difference between rebellion and revolution? What role can street gangs and their leaders play in revolution? Revolution Club members and other Revolution newspaper distributors got into these questions with people and struggled with them to get into the works and leadership of Bob Avakian (BA) and the strategy for revolution. Several people said they planned to go to and check out BA’s new major work.



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