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The Cops Just Killed This 14-Year-Old Boy For Graffiting

On Tuesday, around 5:50 p.m., a cop shot and killed a 14-year-old boy in Boyle Heights – a predominantly Latino neighborhood just east of downtown Los Angeles.

Credit: @thesoniag/Instagram

The reason for his death? He was tagging.

According to reports, members of the LAPD gang enforcement division responded to a vandalism call. The two officers approached Jesse James Romero, the dead boy in question, and another unnamed teen suspect. Romero took off running, and the cops went after him. The police say that an unnamed witness saw Romero fire at the cops, so they fired back and killed him. A gun was found near where Romero was killed. A witness who spoke to the Los Angeles Times said that she saw Romero run down the street and throw a gun into the bushes. According to her statement, the gun went off after it hit a fence and landed on the ground.

“He didn’t shoot,” the woman told the LA Times.

Both officers, still unnamed, were wearing body cameras. The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California says the two cops will get a chance to review the footage before they have to provide a statement of what happened. I don’t know when that footage will be made available to the public.

Speaking to the media, Deputy Chief Robert Arcos, suggested that what happened to Jesse James Romero was because of where he lived.

#JesseJamesRomero #DefendBoyleHeights

A photo posted by Sarah Marie (@sarahmariegee14) on

Credit: @sarahmariegee14/Instagram

“In a community where violent crime continues to rise, particularly gang crime, this event underscores the need for youth programs and outreach, which provide opportunities and alternatives for the young of our communities,” he said.

I live in Boyle Heights. There is less violent crime there than in Venice, which is richer and whiter. It’s not a gangland. It’s a working class Latino neighborhood that’s fighting off gentrification like crazy (and winning, at least for now). Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti proudly claims his roots are in Boyle Heights.

I do not feel unsafe.

Instead, I feel anger and distrust. I’m furious that a 14-year-old boy was killed six blocks from my apartment for doing something dumb, no different than what other kids his age do on a daily basis. I’m suspicious of the police because of their lack of transparency. It doesn’t help that the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office recently had to apologize for killing an innocent bystander – a black man – after spending two weeks trying to peg him as a second suspect in a carjacking. I’m much more comfortable giving benefit of the doubt to a Mexican boy who likely had a gun on him, than I am to law enforcement because I’m more afraid of being shot and killed by a cop than a middle school kid.

I’m disillusioned that Jesse James Romero, if he’s remembered at all by the public, will be painted as a violent thug who was a danger to society. That’s not how his friends and family will remember him.

Credit: @_cinthia/Instagram

“He was a very good student,” Teresa Dominguez, Romero’s 36-year-old single mother told the LA Times. “He was a very good person.”

“He was caring, he was loving. Whenever I was sad, he would put aside his troubles and drama and he would come help me. He would try to, he would do his best to make me smile,” Monica Garcia (pictured above), a teen girl who was friends with Romero, said to Los Angeles Times video reporter Luis Sinco. “Personally, I don’t want him to be remembered as a gang member. That’s just not right. He was someone’s kid, someone’s boyfriend, someone’s cousin, someone’s friend.” Jesus.

Even those who didn’t know the boy are devastated.

Credit: @VeronicaRochaLA

Last night, at around 10 p.m., I took my dog out for a walk to clear my head. As I headed to a nearby park, a white, dinky car suddenly stopped and parked in the middle of the street with the engine still running. A young, Latino-looking kid rushed out of the vehicle, sprinted to a white wall on the opposite side of the street where I was standing, tagged it, and then ran back into the car, which quickly took off. The whole incident lasted no more than 20 seconds. I lingered in place for about a minute trying to process what I’d just witnessed. Confusion immediately morphed into impotent rage.

“You stupid motherf****r,” I uttered under my breath, concluding that this tagger’s stupid actions could one day likely lead him to meet a fate similar to Jesse James Romero’s. I went straight to bed shortly thereafter because it was better to be asleep than to be equal parts fuming and despondent.


A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the family of Jesse James Romero pay for his funeral costs. You can contribute here

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New Netflix Docuseries Explores The Summer The Night Stalker Terrorized Los Angeles

Entertainment

New Netflix Docuseries Explores The Summer The Night Stalker Terrorized Los Angeles

Bettmann / Getty Images

Richard Ramirez, a.k.a. The Night Stalker, spent the summer of 1985 terrorizing Los Angeles. Ramirez murdered 13 people during his reign of terror in Southern California. Netflix’s new docuseries is exploring the crime by interviewing law enforcement and family of the victims.

“Night Stalker: The Hunt For a Serial” killer is now streaming on Netflix.

“Night Stalker: The Hunt For a Serial Killer” is the latest Netflix docuseries diving into the true crimes that have shaped American society. Richard Ramirez is one of the most prolific serial killers of all time and single-handedly terrorized Los Angeles during the summer of 1985.

Ramirez fundamentally changed Los Angeles and the people who live there. The serial killer was an opportunistic killer. He would break into homes using unlocked doors and opened windows. Once inside, he would rape, murder, rob, and assault the people inside the home.

The documentary series explores just how Ramirez was able to keep law enforcement at bay for so long. The killer did not have a standard modus operandi. His victims ran the gamut of gender, age, and race. There was no indicator as to who could be next. He also rarely used the same weapon when killing his victims. Some people were stabbed to death while others were strangled and others still were bludgeoned.

While not the first telling of Ramirez’s story, it is the most terrifying account to date.

“Victims ranged in age from 6 to 82,” director Tiller Russell told PEOPLE. “Men, women, and children. The murder weapons were wildly different. There were guns, knives, hammers, and tire irons. There was this sort of feeling that whoever you were, that anybody could be a victim and anybody could be next.”

Family members of the various victims speak in the documentary series about learning of the horror committed to them. People remember grandparents and neighbors killed by Ramirez. All the while, police followed every lead to make sure they left no stone unturned.

“Night Stalker: The Hunt For a Serial Killer” is now streaming on Netflix.

READ: Here’s How An East LA Neighborhood Brought Down One Of America’s Most Notorious Serial Killers

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Video of an Anti-Mask Mob Storming a Los Angeles Grocery Store and Angrily Confronting Customers Goes Viral

Things That Matter

Video of an Anti-Mask Mob Storming a Los Angeles Grocery Store and Angrily Confronting Customers Goes Viral

Screenshot via SamBraslow/Twitter

We may have officially left 2020 behind us, but the drama surrounding the pandemic is still alive and well in 2021. As safety precautions like social distancing and masks remain in place in order to curb the spread of the virus, COVID-deniers and anti-maskers have become further emboldened.

But there hasn’t been such a blatant and obnoxious display of anti-masker activism as what happened recently in Los Angeles.

On Monday, a video went viral of an anti-mask woman screaming and appearing to attack a young man in the grocery store.

The video shows an anti-mask woman angrily running after a young man wearing a mask, at one point trying to plow him down with a shopping cart. As she charges towards him, she cusses at him and accuses him of having tried to hit her. There is no footage of the alleged hitting.

The woman follows the man throughout the grocery store as he tries to get away from her. She continues to strike at and scream at him. At one point, the young man tries to ask a security guard for help to no avail. More anti-mask protestors surround him and yell at him as he tries to distance himself from the situation.

The video was one of many incidents incited by an anti-mask mob in Los Angeles on Sunday.

The mob stormed Los Angeles’s Century City mall and nearby Ralph’s grocery store on Sunday. The group held pro-Trump and anti-mask signs, as well as signs that expressed doubt over the severity of the coronavirus.

In a Twitter thread, reporter Samuel Braslow documented the hours long “protest” of a group of anti-maskers. As the group swarmed the popular Los Angeles Century City mall, they were loud, relentless, and sometimes violent. They yelled inflammatory rhetoric such as “F–k communist China!”.

The Twitter thread also shows the mob storming into a Bloomingdales and chanting “No more masks!”. At one point, a few members of the group start performing a “MAGA” version of the YMCA.

The incident in the grocery store wasn’t the only time that the group had aggressive run-ins with onlookers.

Various videos show the group getting into various arguments, including with a food court worker, a shopper walking with his girlfriend, and an emotional woman who revealed to them that her mother was in the hospital with COVID-19. A male protestor responded: “A lot of people are. That’s life. People die. Your father [sic] is not special.”

While the LAPD and mall security ended up closely monitoring the situation, they never tried to arrest the protestors or force them to leave. According to Braslow, they opted to instead only intervene “when necessary”.

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