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NAJEE’S NOTES: Another battle in the fight for justice for Andres Guardado

The fight for justice for Andrés Guardado, the 18-year-old man shot in the back fives times and killed, reportedly by Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Miguel Vega on June 18, continues.

At 10 a.m. July 23 outside the Sheriff’s Department’s headquarters in downtown Los Angeles a coalition of religious and community leaders will call on Sheriff Alex Villanueva to release the videotape that captured the shooting.

Villanueva, who won election in 2018 to lead the Sheriff’s Department, promised transparency. Unfortunately, since he’s been in office, his leadership has been anything but transparent. His failure to be transparent to the community, the five-member Board of Supervisors and the county Civilian Oversight Commission has been disturbing.

Guardado’s family said he ran from two deputies into an alley, where he died after being shot in the back several times. Vega has insisted he shot Guardado because he had a gun and he feared for his life. 

But a local storeowner, Andrew Heney, reported that several cameras at the scene, including a digital video recorder that stored surveillance footage, were destroyed and taken by police.

Therefore, our coalition is calling on Villanueva to release the videotape. If Guardado did indeed attempt to reach for a gun, the tape will show it.

But the witnesses have all stated Guardado didn’t even have a gun. The fact that Villanueva won’t release the tapes speaks for itself.

Villanueva also put a hold on the Guardado autopsy report being released to the family and public. The family hired a legal team and an independent autopsy was conducted verifying what the family, witnesses and this writer have said all along from the very beginning: Guardado was shot several times in the back and killed in an unjustified shooting.

Guardado lived with his family in Koreatown and had just recently graduated high school. He was working two jobs and was a student at Los Angeles Trade-Technical College to become a registered electrician or mechanic. Guardado worked as an unlicensed security guard for Street Dynamic Auto Body in Gardena.

I had a chance to meet his parents and other family members at the scene of the shooting and the subsequent protests in the aftermath. I pledged to fight with them for justice to the very end.

That fight continues next week outside L.A. Sheriff’s Department headquarters where the Guardado family will be joined once again by my fellow activists Cliff Smith, Raúl Claros, Lori Condus and a host of activists who have all been in this fight for justice from the very beginning.

We continue to demand the videotapes be released in the killing of Guaradado and that Vega be arrested for the murder of Guardado.

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Our very own U.S. Rep. Karen Bass, one of the most powerful and influential leaders in the nation and the current chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, has emerged as a front-runner to serve as Sen. Joe Biden’s nominee for vice president of the United States.

In my opinion, Bass is the perfect fit for that role. She has a history of being able to work across the aisle with the Republican Party, when she was the speaker of the California Assembly, the first African-American woman to serve in that role. She also has a close relationship with former President Barack Obama.

I believe Bass will be selected as vice president. And when it happens, remember I said it would and don’t forget to thank L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, who is the national co-chair for the Biden presidential campaign.

Garcetti told me two weeks ago when we saw each other at an event in San Pedro and I was lobbying for Bass to be selected vice president that he was the one to place her name on the list to be vetted.