To the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors: You have the power to end the serial violence that has rained down on the Lopez family for four and a half years.
First, their son was needlessly killed by Sheriff’s Deputy Erick Gelhaus. Second, District Attorney Jill Ravitch perpetuated a fraud on that family and the citizens of this county by hiring an “independent” investigator, William Lewinski, who she knew always found in favor of law enforcement.
Then, there was the demonizing of the Latino community, when its young people, including Andy’s friends, protested.
There was the return of Gelhaus to the streets.
There was the smearing of Lopez’s son’s memory and character by the sheriff’s office.
There was your refusal, when creating a task force, to take a moral stand. You were content to hide behind your legal obligations and restrictions.
Even the park, which the community happily accepts, is bittersweet, built as it is on two decades of foot dragging and over the body of a young boy.
And now there is the long slog of a lawsuit, with your multiple attempts to have it dismissed, despite deposition testimony that makes it clearer and clearer that Andy did not have to die, that he should be alive and celebrating with us when the park opens on his birthday this June.
You can stop this onslaught of violence against the Lopez family right now. You can turn to your attorney and the sheriff’s office and say, “No, it stops now.” You can manifest some of your claimed compassion and empathy and say, “We’re settling this case.” Attorneys are trained to ignore the harm they so often create. You are under no such obligation. You can say, “We refuse to continue inflicting pain on the Lopez family. We want this case settled.”
Please, do it today.
Susan Lamont is a member of the Police Brutality Coalition Sonoma County.
Open Mic is a weekly feature in the ‘Bohemian.’ We welcome your contribution. To have your topical essay of 350 words considered for publication, write [email protected].