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Residents protest fatal shooting of unarmed man by deputies

Jocelynn, 6, right and Ariana, 3, with their mother, Roseanna who holds a photo of her wedding with Jose De La Trinidad. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

More than 60 people filled a Compton meeting room Monday night to demand answers from the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department about the Nov. 10 shooting of an unarmed man.

Audience discussion of deputy-involved shootings, which came at the regular monthly meeting of the Compton Anti-Crime Committee, a community group, monopolized the gathering.

Representatives from the Sheriff’s Department, FBI and Office of Independent Review were barraged with questions about the status of investigations into the shooting of Jose de la Trinidad and other victims of officer-involved shootings.

De la Trinidad, 36, was shot and killed after he exited the passenger seat of a car driven by his brother following a brief chase. The deputies said he got out of the car and reached for his waistband, but an independent witness told The Times he was standing with his hands on his head when they opened fire.

“It has devastated my family,” said Rosie de la Trinidad, Jose’s widow, to FBI investigators and police officials in the room.

Rosie de la Trinidad, who had spent much of the day commemorating her slain husband’s birthday, begged officials to complete a thorough investigation of the shooting. Her address prompted nearly all of the meeting attendees to rise to their feet, screaming chants of “We want justice” and “Justice for Jose.”

The FBI investigators in the room called the killing a “tragedy” but noted they could not guarantee an investigation; they were from the bureau’s sex-crimes unit and were scheduled to speak to the group about child prostitution.

The De la Trinidad shooting is under investigation by the Sheriff's Department's homicide division. Once that investigation is complete, another investigation into the shooting will be conducted by the Office of Independent Review.

Julie Ruhlin, the attorney that office who is assigned to the De la Trinidad case, told attendees her office would conduct a complete investigation.

“I just want you guys to help me,” Rosie de la Trinidad said in response. “I need them to be held accountable for what they did."

The Anti-Crime Committee’s leadership pledged to broker a February meeting with the offices of the U.S. attorney and L.A. County district attorney, as well as FBI investigators.

“When we look down this list (of victims in officer-involved shootings) we see no gun, no gun, no gun …” said Royce Esters, who heads the community group as well as the local chapter of the National Assn. for Equal Justice. “We’re getting really tired of this 'he looked like he reached for his waistband’ business.”

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— Wesley Lowery in Compton

Photo: Jocelynn, 6, right, and Ariana, 3, with their mother, Rosie, who holds a photo of her wedding with Jose de la Trinidad. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

 
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About L.A. Now
L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
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