Oscar Perez-Giron, age 23, was shot and killed June 30 at the Sodo Light Rail station in Seattle by Sheriff’s Deputy Malcolm Elliott. Oscar’s killing was described at a July 6 vigil at the station by his friend Carlos, who was with him that afternoon.
Carlos, speaking in Spanish with an interpreter and with his face covered, described how he, Oscar and another friend Mario were going to take the light rail train to downtown to hang out. Oscar’s Orca pass did not work and they were detained by unarmed security who then called for sheriff department back up.
Carlos pointed to where he and Mario were held, in handcuffs, and to where Oscar was being held, “hugged” by the security guard. Carlos said he heard three shots, although other reports including from the Sheriff’s office, suggest there may have been more.
Mario, the other friend, remains in jail with a $50,000 bond for allegedly assaulting a police officer. Carlos said that Mario did nothing. Deputy Elliott, the killer, claims that Oscar pulled a gun on him. Again, Carlos, as well as other eyewitnesses who were interviewed on local media, dispute that.
Abby, a friend of Oscar’s who came out to the vigil, told Liberation News that she had a family member that was on the train in the station at the time of the shooting. The train was held for many hours while the police seized evidence including cell phones from passengers.
There are many discrepancies in the police story and the body has not yet been released to the family, who have only been shown a photo of him from the neck up.
Sebastian Beltran spoke eloquently about the police discrepancies. “They lied about the number of shots, about his friends assaulting them, about his having a gun. They stereotyped him.”
Liberation News spoke to close family members and to community members to whom Oscar was “just like family.”
Maria Giron said, “I just want to get justice for my son, we want to know what happened and clear this situation.”
Oscar was “like a son” to Dolly. Dolly told Liberation News about how the tribute altar at the station was disrespectfully taken down by transit security, who called it “trash.”
Family member Michelle Aguilar said, “There was no need to shoot him.”
Many, many friends of Oscar spoke at the vigil. This reporter got a strong sense of Oscar as a caring, respectful young man who was racially profiled by the police as a “gang member.”
Alondra Garcia, a friend and one of the organizers of the vigil, spoke strongly about the role of the police in the community. “If they are supposed to protect us, how come we are afraid of them? No Justice—No Peace!”
Jackie Floyd heard about the vigil when she got her car washed as part of a fundraiser for funeral expenses. She explained to Liberation News that she was already upset about how children crossing the border are being described in racist terms as “hordes.” She said, “I came here today because I am sick of the prejudice against Brown people. How they treat you at the border is how they treat you in the border. This is a classic example of cops killing Brown people.”
Other speakers included Jay Hollingsworth, chair of the John T. Williams Organizing Committee, and Harriet Ross of Mothers for Police Accountability.
The community is organizing a car wash and an online fundraising account to raise money for funeral expenses and for an independent autopsy. Justice for Oscar Perez-Giron!