Community Holds Candlelight Vigil after Latino Father Found Dead ‘In Custody’ – Group Blames Los Angeles Deputies

Via Public Domain Pictures
Public Domain

By Kapish Kalita

LANCASTER, CA – The family of Francisco Nuñez, along with Cancel the Contract, friends, and concerned community members held a recent candlelight vigil to honor a “beloved father and call attention to ongoing harassment of his family by LA (Los Angeles) sheriff deputies.”

Cancel The Contract noted Nuñez “was 38 years old” and “his childhood was spent in Lancaster, growing up locally on J-8” and “was a father to Marianna, Alexis, Francisco, Abraham, Aubree, Breanna, Naylene, Renesmee, and Jaime, and was “also a son, brother, uncle, cousin, and a great friend” who “loved dirt bikes, cooking fish tacos and shrimp tacos.”

According to his sister,  Cindy Nuñez, “He was loved by all of us,” and “was the nice uncle who loved his nieces and nephews” and “didn’t deserve what happened to him.’’

Cancel The Contract maintains, in a statement, “Francisco Nuñez was last seen alive in contact with LASD, on the night of March 8th/morning of the 9th” and that while “his companions from that night were each arrested and booked into LA County Jail, Mr. Nuñez was never seen again alive.”

The statement added Nunez and his friends were “fleeing from the arrival of swat teams in their alley” with “Mr. Nuñez being ‘found’ dead by Sheriff Deputies ‘responding to a 911 call reporting a deceased individual.’ ”

According to Cancel The Contract, an “‘indeterminate’ death certificate was issued” for Nuñez with his “family and the community…calling for transparency, starting with bodycam footage of all the deputies in the areas that night, helicopter footage, as well as footage from surrounding businesses over the days in question.”

Cancel The Contract further noted how Nuñez’s “family members are decrying the lack of clear information surrounding this incident, and the harassment from AV deputies they have endured in the past two weeks,” with “family members report(ing) multiple incidents of sheriff deputies cruising by their homes, sometimes shouting insults and threats.”

The harassment of Nuñez’s family is “nothing new,” according to LA County’s inspector general Max Huntsman’s March report, which described how in “the past several years, the Office of Inspector General has had numerous conversations with the surviving family members and loved ones who reported being harassed by deputies after a deputy-involved shooting.”

Cancel The Contract then went on to note that “the family and activists swear they will continue to fight for justice and accountability from LASD and to unearth the truth of what happened that night.”

CTC Chair Raquel Derfler said, “LASD has a responsibility to engage in constitutional policing with each and every member of the community they come into contact with” and “they cannot pick and choose who is worthy of having their rights respected.”

Derfler added, “Captain Bartlett and Captain Fender of the Lancaster Sheriff’s Department owe the Nuñez family full transparency as it relates to the contact their deputies had with Francisco between March 8 and March 14.”

Cancel The Contract also stated this “most recent incident in Lancaster occurs in the long shadow of LASD’s continued and willful non-compliance with the 2015 Antelope Valley Settlement Agreement between LASD and the U.S. Department of Justice.”

The groups added, for “over eight years” the “LASD has shirked its obligations under the agreement, failing to adopt a compliant use of force policy, to conduct analyses of stops, uses of force, and arrest data, and to ultimately hold deputies accountable for their misconduct and abuse of the community.”

“Year after year,” according to Cancel The Contract, “LASD has refused to fully comply with those provisions and various others set forth in the 2015 AV Settlement Agreement, allowing LASD deputies to continue to act with impunity and wanton disregard for the people they are tasked with protecting and brutalize Black and brown community members.”

About The Author

The Vanguard Court Watch operates in Yolo, Sacramento and Sacramento Counties with a mission to monitor and report on court cases. Anyone interested in interning at the Courthouse or volunteering to monitor cases should contact the Vanguard at info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org - please email info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org if you find inaccuracies in this report.

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