Anakbayan Long Beach celebrates an important victory for the working people of Long Beach against the Long Beach Police Department with the dismissal of trumped-up charges against our member Joses Magno, who participated in this year’s May Day mobilization.
On May 1, 2016, the May Day Long Beach Coalition launched an unprecedented demonstration of people power with over 200 community residents marching across the city to advocate for worker rights, immigrant rights and Black Lives Matter.
The march was peaceful, well-organized, and family-friendly, with Joses driving at the front of the march to protect participants from traffic and carrying water throughout for distribution. After the protest and rally ended at City Hall, Joses was unjustly cited by the LBPD with an infraction for "impeding traffic" as well as a littering misdemeanor for "dropping a toothpick" while being interrogated.
“There was no explanation,” said Joses. “They asked me questions about others’ and my own involvement in the march, our reasons for marching, about my personal information like if I was a student and my contact info. The way they blocked my truck in, none of it felt like a traffic stop. When allies and friends found me and my partner in the parking garage, the officers sped the process along because they didn't want more people to see what was going on.”
On May 1, 2016, more than 200 people peacefully took to the streets in Long Beach to advocate for worker and immigrant rights
Police Retaliation Had No Basis
In Monday’s court case, Attorney Colleen Flynn of the National Lawyers Guild exposed that the LBPD had no basis for its retaliatory and punitive actions. As Officer James Connell revealed during his testimony, the LBPD had set up a command post to surveil the march and sent him to single-out Joses’ vehicle for citation.
Connell admitted to only watching the video for 45 seconds and did not know basic information about the march, such as the route or the number of participants. Commissioner Dennis W. Carroll dismissed the citation in the “interest of justice.”
“This victory teaches us that we must never cower in the face of injustice,” said Paula Abad, Chairperson of Anakbayan Long Beach. “We took to the streets because workers are being exploited and immigrants are being mistreated right here in our very own city. We will continue to take to the streets until all workers are respected, wage theft is eradicated, working families have rent control, and immigrants have sanctuary from deportation and discrimination.”
City’s Profit-Making Schemes Exploit Low-Income Residents
Anakbayan Long Beach also condemns the City’s Diversion Program, which was offered to Joses, along with its Pay-to-Play approach to its court processes. The Diversion Program offers itself as a way for people to have their charges dropped by paying hundreds of dollars for a diversion class and/or community service and Pay-to-Play refers to the ban on forcing those with citations to pay their bail amounts up-front for an arraignment. Those who choose not to pay are forced to return at a later date. These systems must be recognized as a way the City of Long Beach extracts profit from its low-income communities of color while at the same time creates an unfair barrier between those who can afford to buy their freedom, and those who cannot.
Solidarity with Victims of Police Brutality
“I didn't get it that bad to be honest. Black folks, brown folks, Cambodian folks in Long Beach face harassment from law enforcement all the time, for just existing. I saw that while living in area of Long Beach covered by a gang injunction -- youth at the bus stop getting questioned, elders just kicking it then getting detained. It's important that I recognize the privilege I carry, including my ethnicity, skin color, and support of our allies. The violence people of color face daily from LBPD is something we need to address together as a community,” stated Joses.
Across the US, the systemic abuse of power by police is being exposed on a daily basis with many Black and Brown people being murdered by police. The police are instruments of the wealthy ruling class to protect their property and power in this imperialist system. Anakbayan Long Beach stands in solidarity and offers support to all victims of police brutality and everyone taking to the streets to resist this inherently unjust system.