Militant Journalism

Family demands justice for Jonathan Cortez, murdered by FBI agent in East Oakland

On October 16, family members and supporters marched to demand justice for Jonathan Cortez, who was shot and killed by a plainclothes FBI agent on September 13 inside an East Oakland store. The deadly interaction only lasted about 8 seconds, and the family says no identification was provided by the agent involved.

The march, organized by the Anti Police-Terror Project (APTP) and Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice (CURYJ), ended at Downtown Oakland’s Ronald V. Dellums Federal Building with a rally. Local poets recited radical pieces about racist policing under capitalism, and the Cortez family enumerated their demands:

  1. The FBI must release all video recordings of Jonathan’s killing
  2. Mayor Schaaf must name the officers or agents who were involved in Cortez’s murder
  3. Cortez’s personal belongings must be returned to his family
  4. All federal, state, and local law enforcement must immediately stop harassing and following Cortez’s family
  5. Stop the ongoing character assassination of Cortez

FBI San Francisco Special Agent in Charge, Craig Fair, previously stated that the agent who entered the store with his gun drawn and killed Cortez was authorized to execute federal and local arrest warrants. It has been reported, however, that Jonathan Cortez was not the target of the warrant they were executing on September 13. No footage has been released and the agent remains unidentified. The FBI claims Cortez had a gun in his possession as the reason he was killed. 

On September 30, Cortez’s family held a funeral that was significantly repressed by the police. Two attendees were arrested and family members reported harassment from federal agents. Toward the end of Saturday’s rally, it became clear that law enforcement agencies were present at the action conducting surveillance. George Galviz from CURYJ explained their intent is to “harass and terrorize this family. They showed up to the funeral. They arrested one of the pallbearers. This is what we call police terrorism.”

Organizers documented this behavior, and made it clear that they would not be intimidated or back down from their demands. The organizers of the action also announced their next steps: a larger protest that will take place at the FBI headquarters in San Francisco to demand justice for Jonathan Cortez and all victims of racist police terror.

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