For Immediate Release
Contact: Manuel Criollo 323.243.9304
Eric Mann 213.387.2800

Press Conference
Date/Time: Thursday, September 14th at 12 PM
Location: In Front of Los Angeles MTA Headquarters
One Gateway Plaza, Los Angeles, CA 90012 (Vignes and Chavez)


Justice for César Rodriguez and His Family

The Strategy Center and Fight for the Soul of the Cities Demands:

All Police Forces Off All MTA Trains and Buses,

End the Police State on LA Metro.

No Fare Enforcement, Free Fares Immediately,

We Won’t Pay for Racism!

Los Angeles, September 14, 2017 – The Strategy Center and Fight for the Soul of the Cities will hold a press conference with the family of Cesar Rodriguez at the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority headquarters at 12 pm. Two weeks ago on the night of August 29th, Cesar Rodriguez, a 23 year old Latino male, was hit by an MTA Blue Line train and killed. The Strategy Center is charging this was a product of police brutality and negligence by Los Angeles MTA and the Long Beach Police Department. We ask Los Angeles MTA to immediately end all fare enforcement on the trains, institute immediate free public transportation, and support a full investigation of the murder of Cesar Rodriguez and to arrest of all police and security personnel responsible for his death.

No Real Answers, Changing Stories. Two weeks ago, Cesar Rodriguez was killed by the Los Angeles MTA and the Long Beach Police Department reportedly fleeing police in the process of a “fare check” by Long Beach Police Department. The police story keeps changing. They say they began as a “fare check” but they have no right to do that. Then they spread a story he had “narcotics” but that has nothing to do with anything. Then the police either chased or pushed Cesar in front of a moving train where he was killed. This type of police misconduct and brutality led to his death. We at the Strategy Center are heartbroken about the police killing of Cesar Rodriguez and our hearts go out to his family and friends. We want justice for him and all MTA passengers experiencing police racism and brutality.

Cesar Rodriguez Murder in the Context of an On-going Egregious Anti-Black Discriminatory Patterns of Criminalization of LA Black Transit Riders. This deadly outcome is part of a long history of attacks and a virtual police state on public transportation, especially for Black passengers in Los Angeles. For over four years, the Labor/Community Strategy Center and the Bus Riders Union have been calling on the Los Angeles MTA to end its ‘stop and frisk’, harassment, fining, and imprisonment of its passengers—especially its Black passengers. The U.S. Department of Transportation has launched an investigation of Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority for egregious racial profiling and criminalization of Black LA Metro riders based on charges filed by Labor/Community Strategy Center on November 2016

MTA puts more police and fare checks to further violate civil rights. We’ve been negotiating, unsuccessfully, with MTA CEO Phillip Washington for over a year asking the MTA to end all armed and intrusive fare collection and stop MTA’s ‘Stop and Frisk’. Hundreds of thousands of MTA passengers–especially Black passengers–are treated like criminals on MTA buses and rail getting humiliated, fined, and arrested–and now in the case of Cesar Rodriguez, death. In February 2017, the Los Angeles MTA approved close to $800 million for a new police and security contract. Los Angele Metro rather than rolling back its police presences has increased its police and security forces, in addition of Los Angeles MTA Police and LA County Sheriffs, we now have Los Angeles Police Department, Long Beach Police Department, MTA fare inspectors and armed private security guards adding another militarized police layer on Los Angeles buses and trains. These racist and repressive practices by the MTA must end immediately.