On January 26, over 100 family members, friends, and supporters marched to protest and bring attention to Jose de la Trinidad who was killed by L.A. County Sheriff’s deputies in the Willowbrook area on November 10, 2012. The march began at the site of Jose’s killing, 122nd Street and Wilmington Ave. and proceeded south down Wilmington Ave. to Compton Blvd., turned east and ended in front of the Compton Sheriff’s Station on Willowbrook Ave.
Mr. Trinidad was the 238th person killed by police since 2007 according to Isaac Asberry, Teen Intervention Program CEO and founder of the Wall of Shame that tracks all murders in the county beginning in 2007.
The coroner’s report says that Mr. de la Trinidad was shot seven times in the back. A witness claims that Mr. de la Trinidad’s hands were atop his head when deputies from Lynwood Station opened fire. Pending the investigation, there has been no official word from the sheriff on the shooting other than the standard “he reached for his waistband.”
When we examine the use of deadly force by the sheriff’s department over the past year, the deaths of Jose Toloza, Steven Bromen, Gilberto Guterriez, Christopher Allen, Javier Ortiz, Juan Serna, Christian Coban and others makes one wonder if there is some form of killing competition among sheriff stations.
The de la Trinidad family and supporters will pursue change within the sheriff’s department. Some believe deputy killers should be held personally liable for their actions with the use of deadly force. I believe hiring practices, overall policing style, and leadership are major contributing factors to excessive and deadly force use. Training is a factor as is the excessive length of time deputies spend in jail house training before street assignments.