SANTA ROSA (CBS13) – There was a march for justice in Sacramento after a Santa Rosa teen was killed by a sheriff’s deputy, who thought the 13-year-old’s toy gun was real.
The protest was part of a statewide rally to call attention to the case.
“He had done nothing wrong. He had no criminal record,” said activist Estevan Hernandez, ANSWER Coalition.
Dozens held signs in front of the Sacramento courthouse, asking for justice for 13-year-old Andy Lopez.
“We’ve had it up to here. Our communities are getting torn apart by people being murdered,” said Hernandez.
Hernandez believes police brutality can happen to anyone.
“Families are coming together in unity and fighting this epidemic of police brutality,” he said.
Protesters across California held rallies Saturday, calling Lopez’s death a murder.
“How can they say this office is trying to make us safe, to protect our community? This bullet hit the area where my 16-month-old son and I were standing just moments before,” said Brian Bushon, who lives near the street where Lopez died.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is currently investigating the shooting.
Sonoma County Deputy Erick Gelhaus says he shot Lopez because he thought the toy gun in the teen’s hand was real. Witnesses say they heard deputies ask Lopez to put the gun down, but he never did.
Protesters say they won’t stop organizing until the 24-year veteran deputy is arrested and convicted of murder.
“We believe only a mass movement will put an end to this,” said Hernandez.
The shooting is also under investigation by Santa Rosa police and the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office.
A rally took place in San Francisco as well. It drew dozens of people to the Mission District, with many of them carrying signs demanding Gelhaus be jailed.