(Video) Justice for James Earl Rivera Jr. | Unarmed Black teen murdered by police »
For almost 2 years the parents of James Earl Rivera Jr. have been asking why 2 Stockton Police officers and 1 county sheriff opened fire with semi-automatic weapons including an AR-15 assault rifle on their unarmed 16 year old son. To this day James’ family has not received a police report or even a coroner’s report, let alone a simple apology for James’ untimely death.
Without an official report or investigation, James’ mother, Dionne Smith-Downs has had to piece together an understanding of what happened to her son through a series of eyewitness accounts, none of which indicate that the police had any justification for opening fire on James.
On the morning of July 22, 2010 James was seen driving a blue van near his neighborhood in Stockton while being tailed by an unmarked vehicle. James was followed until his van was cutoff and then rammed by multiple police cars forcing James to lose control and crash through two metal mailboxes and then through the walls of two adjacent single car garages. The van remained lodged in the side of the garage until it was removed by a tow truck with police supervision later that night.
With James’ van lodged into the side of a garage and James presumably injured from the impact, 2 Stockton Police officers, Gregory Dunn and Eric Azarvand, and John Nesbitt of the San Joaquin Sheriff’s Department surrounded James’ van and opened fire with 48 rounds, 19 of which pierced James’ body. James was already dead and his body mutilated by the time the officers removed him from the van.
James was unarmed and posed no threat to himself, his community, or the officers who took his life.