The Execution of Noel Aguilar
There are videos showing shootings that cause my mouth to fall open. They make me sad. Some have brought me to tears. Some have caused me to feel helpless. (Oh God! If I only had the power to resurrect the dead.)
There are no words to describe what I felt when watching the video of the killing of Noel Aguilar. The closest I can come to describing my feelings is when seeing photos of Nazi Germany officers nonchalantly shooting Jewish men, point blank. That was before my time. It was in another country. It was during war.
Noel was 23-years old. What happened to Noel is during my life-time. It happened in my country. There is a war between truth and lies. Certainly, if the truth is told, then just maybe citizens could sigh in relief that justice will be served. But, when there are lies to cover up murder, what can citizens do?
The ACLU of Southern California calls the video “chilling.”
It’s hard to watch, but we must watch. Noel deserves it. As chilling as it is, we must watch.
The backdrop of the story makes the video all the more chilling. It is usual to hear stories of officer involved shootings that allege that the suspect was armed with a gun. In some of those cases, it turns out that the suspect did have a gun. In some cases, it was a toy gun that the officer claimed not being distinguishable from a real gun. In some cases, the officer was at risk. In other cases, no gun was found. In some cases, a cell phone or keys were mistaken for guns. There are cases where officers or rent-a-cops mistook their guns for tazers. And then, there are cases where officers were simply angry, and used their weapon.
So much death. So many unnecessary deaths.
In this case, one deputy shot his partner, and blamed it on Noel, who was then executed by the wounded officer.
It happened in May 2014. The story did not go viral and was hardly known until December 2015 when Noel’s family released the cell phone video.
Noel was riding his bike in Long Beach when two Los Angeles County Sheriffs pulled him over. Witnesses reported that Noel wrestled away from them and ran. The Sheriffs pursued him on foot and caught up with him. There was an immediate claim by one of the deputies that Noel had a gun. The cell phone video shows something on the ground that might be a gun taken from Noel.
The video has arrows/ pointers, showing how one deputy takes his gun from its holster. We hear a shot fired and the other officer crying out that he’s been shot. Apparently, knowing that the bullet in his partner would match his gun, the deputy lied and said that Noel disarmed him and shot his partner. The video shows otherwise.
With Noel face down on the ground, the wounded officer shoots Noel in the back 4 times. Although wounded, he and his partner laid on Noel smothering the life from him. We hear Noel say, “I’m dying.”
Angel Carrazco Jr. is an attorney for the Aguilars, and has filed a federal civil lawsuit on behalf of the family, and is handing the fresh evidence over to the Department of Justice, FBI, U.S. Attorney’s office and the L.A. County District Attorney’s office with the hopes of bringing criminal charges against the deputies.
Carrazco told the LA Times that the actions by the deputies were “a blatant execution” because Aguilar was not a lethal threat; he’d already been disarmed. He was handcuffed.
Catherine Wagner, an ACLU staff attorney, stated to the OC Weekly,
“It’s not just the shooting itself that raises questions about the force used by the deputies, but their behavior afterward. After shooting Mr. Aguilar multiple times, the officers, rather than attempting to resuscitate him or keep him alive, they appeared to have just laid on top of him in a way that would ensure further harm.”
The deputies were identified as Jose Ruiz and Albert Murad. Both deputies are back in the field, according to a statement from the Sheriff’s Department, which said an internal affairs investigation has been completed, and a force review committee will decide next month whether there were any policy, tactical, supervisory or training violations. Their investigation does not include the possibility of criminal charges because Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey refused to press charges.
As for reopening a criminal investigation, L.A. County District Attorney’s spokeswoman Jane Robinson told OC Weekly her office needs a copy of the video before they can even consider reopening the case. “When we receive any new evidence we will review it,” Robinson said.
On January 16, 2015, more than 300 people gathered to protest and demand accountability. They marched to the Compton Courthouse, shutting down the Metro Blue Line along the way.
Posted on 01/28/2016, in Cases, Cops Gone Wild, Videos and tagged ACLU, Albert Murad, California, Jackie Lacey, Jose Ruiz, Long Beach, Los Angeles Sheriff, Noel Aguilar. Bookmark the permalink. 28 Comments.