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Protesters plan afternoon march on Sheriff's Office

  • Jay Brian Palominos, 13, walks by graffiti Monday memorializing Andy Lopez near to where he was shot and killed by a Sonoma County sheriff''s deputy. Palominos attended Lawrence Cook Middle School with Lopez. (Conner Jay/The Press Democrat)

The outcry over the killing of 13-year-old Andy Lopez is expected to reach a new level when activists from well beyond Sonoma County and the Bay Area will join local supporters of the Lopez family in a march on the Sheriff's Office.

County offices, the courthouse and City Hall will all close at lunchtime as local officials brace for the largest demonstration yet since the Oct. 22 shooting.

Local organizers met with representatives of out-of-town groups Monday night to discuss “security issues” and ways to ensure the safety of local residents participating in the march. The demonstration is scheduled to start at noon with a rally at Old Courthouse Square, then move down Mendocino Avenue to Santa Rosa Junior College before ending at the Sheriff's Office on Ventura Avenue.

Up until today, those participating in marches, rallies and vigils decrying Lopez's death have been predominantly local residents. Many are Latino parents and young Latino teens who knew Lopez or attended school with him.

But just as the news of the shooting has received national and international attention, the ongoing demonstrations have attracted outside activists concerned with police accountability.

“People from all over the world are outraged at what happened, and someone is not going to be able to get to the demonstration from South Africa. But someone can get to there from south San Francisco,” said Forrest Schmidt, a Bay Area activist with ANSWER Coalition.

Lopez is the youngest person to die in an officer-involved shooting in Sonoma County. His death one week ago Tuesday has sparked an unprecedented flood of anger and grief that has fueled almost daily marches, vigils and rallies.

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