Archive | 23:12

Did Julian Collender Deserve to Die?

8 Jul

As some of you were wondering if LeBron James was heading to Miami or not, I was out at a candlelight vigil for Julian Collender.

I’ve never met Julian nor, until today, ever heard of him, but he died last week after being shot to death by officers of the Brea Police Department after he was suspected of armed robbery. The case is still under investigation and the police department and the district attorney’s office has given few details of what happened.

What happened after his death was a different story. The crowd of 75 people, mostly friends and family of Collender, gathered at the Brea Police Department for a candlelight vigil. Their anger was visible–signs accusing the police of killing unarmed people and cries for “Justice for Julian” reverberated outside the police station.

I talked with some of his friends as we marched from the police station into Imperial Highway, and they described Julian as not the armed robber who the police were looking to kill that night but rather as the cool, harmless friend that they’ve known for many years. One friend said that it wasn’t in his nature to be violent and that he was too bright to pull off an armed robbery.

While I sympathize with Julian’s family and friends, I must be fair and demand answers from the Brea Police Department because I’m sure they have a lot of explaining to do. Shouldn’t the victim’s family and friends need to know what happened that night? Was it necessary to shoot Collender? What prompted the police to come to his residence without a warrant?

As much as Julian’s family and friends want justice, he’s not the only victim of hard-handed tactics that police use to stop “suspected criminals.” We must remember Michael Cho, the artist who was shot to death by La Habra police on New Year’s Eve 1997 and Ashley MacDonald, the Huntington Beach teenager gunned down by police in 2006. I hope we, especially the Collender family and his friends,  can find some answers from this latest tragedy.

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