“Justice for Jonathan!” Rally calls for FBI to name agent, release video of Cortez shooting
on October 16, 2021
Tension, anger and grief filled the air Saturday afternoon in downtown Oakland, as dozens of people rallied to demand answers in the FBI’s killing last month of a 31-year-old Oakland man.
“Justice for Jonathan!” people shouted, as they marched with spray-painted posters from Oscar Grant Plaza to the Ronald V. Dellums Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse a few blocks away.
Jonathan Cortez was buying a Gatorade and some snacks from a corner store in Fruitvale on Sept. 13 when a plain clothes FBI agent shot him, according to Cortez’s family. He was wounded and later died at a hospital. Cortez thought the store was being robbed, the family has said.
The FBI hasn’t issued a statement on the killing, but it told ABC7 News and The Mercury News that an agent was attempting to serve a warrant when Cortez pulled a gun. The bureau hasn’t said if the warrant was for Cortez and it hasn’t released the name of the agent who fired the shot. The family has demanded the FBI to release video footage of the shooting.
“A trip to the corner store should not end in death,” said Rebecca Ruiz, one of the organizers of the rally and a coordinator for the Anti Police-Terror Project.
“We want answers,” she said. “Release the footage, release the names.”
Chants then turned to “FBI, blood on your hands,” and “Feds lied. What do you have to hide?”
The Cortez family is demanding that Mayor Libby Schaaf release the names of any officers and agents involved in Cortez’s death; that authorities return Cortez’s personal belongings; that they stop attacking Cortez’s character; and that they stop harassing and following his family.
“We are just out here trying to get justice for my brother,” said Marilyn Cortez. “I love him so much. I miss him so much. I just want justice for my lil’ bro.”
Gabe Alvarez, 22, joined the march to show his support for the family. He said that coming together as a community will help them get answers.
“You can’t do it alone,” he said.
That was reiterated, with people chanting, “Who keeps us safe? We keep us safe!”
The demonstrators put their “Justice for Jonathan” signs in the bushes around the federal building, then with chalk, wrote those words on the concrete.
“We’ll keep swinging till the walls fall,” said George Galvis, executive director of Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice.
A Go Fund Me page has been set up for the family. And organizers say they are planning a bigger march at FBI headquarters in San Francisco.
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