Long Beach, California: A gruesome cellphone video taken by an anonymous witness has surfaced showing the point-blank police shooting of 23 year old Noel Aguilar in Long Beach last year. Angel Carrazco, an attorney representing Aguilar’s mother and child gave the new evidence to the Department of Justice, FBI, U.S. Attorney’s office and the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office in hopes of bringing criminal charges against the deputies involved.
Around 10 a.m. on May 26, 2014, Aguilar was riding his bike near 69th Way and Long Beach Boulevard when two Los Angeles County Sheriff Deputies tried to stop him for wearing headphones. According to police after an initial struggle, Aguilar ran on foot. When deputies caught up to Aguilar, they tried to arrest him.
The video obtained by Weekly begins when deputies are on top of Aguilar after the foot chase. The video has been slowed down in key spots and transcribed for clarity.
“Is it a gun?” Deputy Albert Murad asks his partner Jose Ruiz. “It’s a gun, it’s a gun,” Ruiz responds. “You fucking move, I’m going to kill you bitch,” Ruiz tells Aguilar. The two deputies attempt to cuff Aguilar when he wiggles his hand free. Aguilar tries to get up but with 2 cops on top of him is not successful. Moments later a gunshot is heard and deputy Murad screams and says he’s been shot in the stomach.
“I didn’t shoot nobody,” Aguilar says.
Deputy Albert Murad had fired his weapon and accidentally shot his partner in the stomach.
After more struggling, Aguilar, still on the ground turns on his side and asks why the deputy has his gun out. The deputy then shoots Aguilar in the stomach. His partner quickly reaches for his own gun and shoots Aguilar at point blank range three times in the back.
Witnesses at the scene can be heard yelling, “You shot him in fucking the back man!”
Noel Aguilar died on the scene. The officer who was shot in the stomach by his partner recovered.
“The first shot is not justified because the victim is very vulnerable, he’s on his side,” Aguilar family attorney Carrazco told Weekly. “The other three shots from the back, every single one of those is unjustified. For me, it seems like it’s murder.”
Carrazco says how the deputies handled Aguilar after he had been shot is also a matter of concern.
“He’s facing down after being shot four times and they’re on top of him,” Carrazco says. “There needs to be a medical conclusion to find out whether they were trying to get him to asphyxiate or bleed to death. By the video, it seems like they were trying to do both.” Aguilar can be heard screaming, “I’m dying!” while onlookers berate the deputies in English and Spanish that they shot him in the back and to get off him because he’s dying.
On June 6, 2014, LA Sheriff’s Department Lt. Steve Jauch told NBC4-TV Aguilar “broke free and grabbed one of the deputy’s guns.” Other media at the time described the incident as a “shootout” and highlighted Aguilar’s criminal history – a media tactic that has become standard in corporate media coverage of officer involved killings.
The important detail that was omitted from original 2014 media coverage was that the deputy who was shot in the stomach was shot by the other deputy’s gun. The gun recovered from the scene reportedly belonging to Aguilar was never discharged but media reports at the time leave that part of the incident open-ended, saying the officer had been shot – but not by whom – and reported Aguilar was armed.
This reporting would have led viewers to believe Aguilar shot the injured officer. Certainly no one would assume the officer had been shot in error by the other deputy on the scene.
A friend of Aguilar interviewed on NBC Los Angeles said Noel was going back to school to try and finish college and get his life together.
The attorney is already in litigation for a civil suit brought on behalf of Aguilar’s family and the family of Noel Aguilar has protested the Long Beach shooting alongside activists. “We want justice for the family,” Carrazco says, in the form of criminal prosecution.
Youth Justice L.A. held protests demanding justice for Noel Aguilar long before the recently released video showing his murder by police.
— Youth Justice L.A. (@YouthJusticeLA) May 27, 2015
— Youth Justice L.A. (@YouthJusticeLA) June 4, 2015
Aguilar’s mother Elvia Marina Aguilar, who is from Honduras said through a translator, “I want them to pay for taking my son’s life.”
A protest is scheduled for Sunday, January 16 again demanding justice for Noel.
— Youth Justice L.A. (@YouthJusticeLA) December 20, 2015