Around 75 people participated in a protest Friday at the Hollenbeck police station in Boyle Heights, according to a published report, demanding the dismissal and prosecution of an officer involved in a violent beating.
The officer, identified by various sources as Frank Hernández, was recorded on video in a late April incident in which he repeatedly punched a Boyle Heights man living in a tent in a neighborhood empty lot. Hernández, a 23-year veteran with the Los Angeles Police Department, has been involved in three shootings in his career — including the 2010 fatal shooting of a day laborer who was drunk and wielding a knife.
All of Hernández’s shootings were determined to be justified by the Los Angeles Police Commission and no criminal charges have ever been filed against him. The LAPD has said Hernández is on home duty, without badge and gun, as he is being investigated for alleged assault.
The man beaten in the video, identified as Boyle Heights resident Richard Castillo, is suing the city and the LAPD.
Organized by Centro CSO: Community Service Organization, the protest was scheduled in part to deliver a petition signed online by over 1,000 people, demanding the LAPD fire Hernández. According to a story on Fight Back! News, the station entrance was locked and protesters were denied access. When CSO member Sol Márquez knocked on the door no one answered, the outlet reported, and the activist taped the petition to the station glass door.
The story said Centro CSO intends to deliver the petition on Thursday.
Despite earlier reports that indicated that Castillo and his lawyer would be at the protest, neither showed up. Instead, a statement from attorney Wesley Ouchi was read.
“On behalf of my client, Richard Castillo, we would like to thank all of you for your moral support and efforts during this difficult time,” the attorney’s statement read. “It truly speaks volumes to the strength of a community when such a tragedy is able to unite people, under a common belief that all of us are entitled to be treated, by our governments, with common decency, respect, and humanity, regardless of our culture, status, wealth or beliefs.”
Family members of Boyle Heights and East Los Angeles residents killed in recent years in officer- or deputy-involved shootings participated in the protest, as well as activists from Black Lives Matter, Homies Unidos and other organizations.