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District Attorney Jill Ravitch defends Andy Lopez inquiry amid pair of protests

  • Santa Rosa Police Sgt. Eric Litchfield, left listens to Ramon Cairo of Santa Rosa, Tuesday Dec. 3, 2013 as law enforcement attempt to close a side door leading to the Santa Rosa Veterans Hall. Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch was having a fundraiser inside; Andy Lopez protesters were demanding to talk with Ravitch. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2013

Beating on drums, pans and blowing on plastic stadium horns, about 150 activists protesting the shooting death of Andy Lopez picketed a re-election event Tuesday evening for Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch.

The demonstration was staged at the Veterans Memorial Building in Santa Rosa, where Ravitch was holding a pasta-feed fundraiser. The action is aimed at putting pressure on Ravitch to bring charges against the sheriff's deputy who shot and killed the 13-year-old Santa Rosa boy.

"We're here to send a message to the D.A. that we are not happy how she has addressed this issue," said Donny Williams, part of a local group called the Justice Coalition for Andy Lopez.

Andy Lopez Protests 12.3.13

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"Essentially, she needs to make this a priority, being that a 13-year-old was killed," Williams said.

Inside the event, in one of the building's side halls, Ravitch supporters ate to the constant din of protesters outside. Every now and then, a protester banged on a window or closed door.

Activists have said they chose the protest venue in an attempt to hit Ravitch where it counts and exert political pressure. The demonstration was the first of two actions activists held Tuesday to protest the Lopez shooting.

"It's not going to work," Ravitch said of the pressure to reach a decision quickly. She said one of her issues when she sought the District Attorney's Office was, "Justice, not politics."

"I will hold true to that and will continue to hold true to that as long as I have the privilege to hold this job," she said.

But protesters, who at times chanted "Jailhouse for Gelhaus," insisted that the investigation should not be taking so long.

"If I shot someone how long do you think that investigation would take," Williams said.


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