About 150 people marched through downtown Santa Rosa and held a rally in front of the Police Department on Sonoma Avenue Monday protesting the fatal shooting of 13-year-old Andy Lopez almost four months ago.
Crews from two San Francisco television stations and an all-news radio station covered the march, which left Old Courthouse Square about 2:10 p.m. and made two laps through downtown on a warm holiday afternoon.
Twice the marchers, led by people chanting over a bullhorn, walked past a larger line of beer enthusiasts waiting outside Russian River Brewing Co. on Fourth Street for a taste of Pliny the Younger, a hoppy ale with a national reputation.
Andy Lopez March 2.17.14
The marchers also ignored repeated requests by Santa Rosa police officers, on motorcycles and in cars, to move onto sidewalks and off streets where they consistently blocked traffic.
Lopez was shot by Sonoma County Sheriff's Deputy Erick Gelhaus on Oct. 22 near his home on Moorland Avenue. The eighth-grader was carrying an airsoft BB gun that resembled an assault rifle and Gelhaus told investigators that he fired as Lopez turned toward him.
Richard Becker, a San Francisco activist, said he came up for his fourth protest.
“I think it's very important that this issue not be allowed to die,” he said. “It's not going to fade away.”
In shouted slogans and on T-shirts and signs, the protesters called for criminal prosecution of Gelhaus and for Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch to recuse herself from the case.
The protest slimmed to about 100 people as marchers arrived at the Police Department's front doors, where 16 officers in riot gear and holding batons stood still behind traffic barricades.
“We're not your enemies,” someone shouted as the marchers pressed up next to the barricades.
The rally disbanded at 3:45 p.m.
You can reach Staff Writer Guy Kovner at 521-5457 or firstname.lastname@example.org.