Mourners gathered at a funeral to commemorate Valentina Orellana Peralta, who was shot by Los Angeles police in December as they chased a man in a department store. The 14-year-old died inside a locker room in his mother’s arms.
“If this was a department store in an exclusive area, would you have recorded like that? I wonder if it had been in another area, another income level, another race, people would look at this as a tragedy. [rather] than a parody? ” Civil rights leader Pastor Al Sharpton said in a eulogy at Orellana Peralta’s funeral Monday at the City of Refuge Church in Gardena, south of Los Angeles.
“There’s nothing normal about shooting so ruthlessly that a young teenage girl who wants to live out the American dream who shopped with her dear mother Soledad and possibly got a Christmas dress ends up getting dressed for her funeral,” Sharpton said after noting that he and others have been calling for reform of the LAPD for decades since police in 1991 beat Rodney King.
“We have to make new laws, we have to make new training,” urged Sharpton, who has held memorial services at the funerals of George Floyd, Stephon Clark and others killed by police. “They must be held accountable … Her life means something to us.”
On December 23, the police shot and killed 24-year-old Daniel Elena Lopez, who was shown on video having attacked people with a bike lock at a Burlington store in North Hollywood. When police shot him, a stray bullet pierced a wall in the locker room, according to police, killing Orellana Peralta, who was hiding inside with her mother.
At a press conference days after her death, Orellana Peraltas the family said the teen loved skateboarding and would become an engineer one day. The teenager had moved to the US just six months before her death, when her family left Chile in search of a better life in the US
“Valentina’s blood will not come from the hands of the Los Angeles Police Department as long as they try to justify the unjustified acts that caused your 14-year-old angel to spill her innocent blood,” Civil Rights Attorney Ben Crump said at noon. Monday’s funeral, addressed to Orellana Peralta’s parents, Soledad Peralta and Juan Pablo Orellana Larenas. “Valentina is innocent.”
The LAPD and the California Department of Justice are investigating the shooting. LAPD officer William Jones, who shot and killed Elena Lopez and Orellana Peralta, was placed on administrative leave.
Protesters demand justice for Orellana Peralta has demanded the officer be fired and charged.
At Monday’s funeral, family lawyer Rahul Ravipudi condemned the young girl’s life being “unnecessarily taken away … by the very people who were accused of protecting her.”
“It will not be in vain,” said the lawyer, who is a child of immigrants from India. “We want to reveal that truth, hold those responsible for her death accountable, and make changes that will allow all Americans, all immigrants, and all to feel the same American dream, the one where we raise children in a place where we feel safe and protected. That’s the reason for Valentina. ”
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