Militant Journalism

Protesters take to streets of Modesto to demand justice for Trevor Seever

Members of the Party for Socialism and Liberation joined a Jan. 9 protest organized by Turlock Black Lives Matter demanding justice for Trevor Seever, killed in December by police in Modesto, Calif.

Around 70 people were at the rally outside of the Modesto Police Department, where Trevor’s family members called for defunding the police. Another speaker linked the murder of Trevor by the police to capitalism, which cares more about increasing profits than it does about humanity, and called for the abolition of the police. Samuel Garcia of the PSL highlighted how the system protects killer cops because ultimately police protect the interests of the capitalist class.

Protesters chanted, “No Justice, No Peace,” “Justice for Trevor,” and “Hands up! Don’t Shoot!” at the rally, and marched through the streets of Modesto demanding justice for Trevor and all those who have fallen victim to police brutality, especially for Black people that are disproportionately murdered by the police. The protesters eventually circled back to the police station and dispersed.

Seever, 29, was shot and killed by Modesto Police Officer Joseph Lamantia on Dec. 29, 2020. The incident occurred after Trevor’s family called 911 concerned about his state of mind. Body-cam footage released by the MPD shows Lamantia shouted at Trevor to put up his hands, to which he complied, and then fatally shot him. Seever was unarmed.

Trevor’s mother, Darlene Ruiz, told Liberation News that the family was instructed by the police to meet them somewhere and that they would talk to them. However, “they went to find Trevor and they drove right past us and immediately shot him.” Ruiz told The Modesto Bee that, “[w]e saw him on the gurney and they said there’s no point in going to the hospital, he’s stable, just go home.”

Kyle Seever (Trevor's brother), Darlene Seever (Trevor's mother) and Allison Seever (Trevor's sister). Photo: Samuel Garcia
Kyle Seever (Trevor’s brother), Darlene Ruiz (Trevor’s mother) and Allison Seever (Trevor’s sister). Photo: Samuel Garcia

The police later showed up at the family’s home and asked to search the house without first informing the family that Trevor had died. “They came and interrogated me for an hour knowing my son had passed and never let me know,” Ruiz told Liberation News. Only after asking did Ruiz get an answer: her son was dead. The police also did not inform the family of the hospital where Trevor was taken.

When the family asked to see him, they were told he was at the coroner’s office and that they would not be able to see him.

This was not Lamantia’s first killing, nor his second, nor even his third — he was previously involved in four killings, as well as the shooting of another man who survived. Lamantia’s “punishment” for Seever’s death so far has been nothing but paid administrative leave, which shows just how rotten the U.S. “justice system” is.

The impunity enjoyed by police has given rise to a movement for justice and accountability. Justice for Trevor Seever and all victims of police brutality will not be handed down by the courts or the politicians. It can only be won through struggle.

Justice for Trevor Seever! Jail Killer Cops!

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