The family of Christopher DeAndre Mitchell held a candlelight vigil with Black Lives Matter to commemorate the first anniversary of his shooting death by officers from the Torrance Police Department.
Mitchell was killed on Dec. 9th, 2018, during an officer-involved shooting in a Torrance when officers responded to a call about a stolen vehicle. Authorities said he was armed with a rifle and in a stolen vehicle. Police later clarified the alleged rifle was a toy air rifle. The family feels the police already had in their minds they wanted to shoot Mitchell because within fifteen seconds of making contact with him, they were already shooting. When viewing the video you can see Mitchell had his hands up, complying with the officers.
The officers involved in the shooting have been exonerated. Black Lives Matter members, family and supporters at the vigil feel the justice system is once again protecting officer’s wrongdoing.
The mother of Mitchell, Sherlyn Haynes, is still deeply hurt by the situation, and the justice system isn’t doing anything about her son being killed unarmed. Haynes said, “I’m extremely hurt. I miss my son so much. I’m demanding justice, and I’m demanding these officers be put in jail. They murdered Christopher within 15 seconds. He had his hands up, and they shot him through his hands. He automatically assumed my son gang bangs, and he doesn’t.”
District Attorney Jackie Lacey has not prosecuted the shooting officers. They are still patrolling the streets every day.
The family of Mitchell and Black Lives Matter is fighting every day to see that officers get prison time. Haynes also said, “This is what Jackie Lacey does. She doesn’t prosecute officers. She lets them get away with murder. Living without Christopher has been so hard for me.”
The family attorney Peter Carr said, “Sherlyn is one of the strongest people I know. She has endured so much. Unfortunately, we’re here a year from now, and the city of Torrance still hasn’t given us any information regarding the shooting. They have disregarded the law.” It is sickening that law enforcement can take a person’s life and get away with it.”
Black Lives Matter representative Sheila Bates said, “We are asking that the officers be fired from the police department. We are pushing for D.A. Jackie Lacey to file charges, although she has decided not to file charges. Also, we are demanding that Torrance city council create an oversight commission of the police department to hold these officers accountable. We’ve learned that the two things that are most likely to prevent and stop these murders are the officers being accountable and limit interactions with the police.”
The court system waited eight months before they released the names of the shooting officers (Matthew Concannon, Anthony Chavez.) Haynes said, “Heartless, racist, murderous cops from Torrance, they don’t need to be on the streets because they are armed and dangerous. I believe if they are on the street any longer, they are going to keep murdering our kids.”
The family feels the death of Mitchell is being swept under the rug. His case has no significant media coverage, so the system can get away with no justice for the family. This shooting was no different than Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, and the many other unarmed killing of black people in the country. Officers involved got promoted months later after they killed Mitchell. Bates said, “The officers got awards and were given raises. This is Jackie Lacey’s legacy; this is what she does. Almost 600 people in LA county were murdered while in police custody and she has filed charges against one of them. And that was only after BLM led by the family have been out in front of D.A. Jackie Lacey’s office for over a year. Don’t vote for Jackie Lacey in 2020.”
Haynes is pushing everybody to get involved before it happens to your child. “I think everybody should start protesting and fighting so Jackie Lacey won’t be re-elected. Everybody has to be aware of what’s going on and pay attention. Please don’t wait until it happens to your family. Get it involved now. Don’t wait. Everybody needs to learn that Jackie Lacey is letting officers get away with murder.”