Update2: There was a protest today in Compton that got rowdy, this post has video and explanation. Click if you want to see whats happening. Pretty much, I now fear a bit for my life. Going to be installing cameras and stuff. Don't let them tell you I offed myself! UPDATE: Andres' family has laid him to rest last week. They released today a diagram from an independent autopsy report stating Andres was shot in the back. The Los Angeles sheriffs have NOT released their autopsy report or any of the footage. The citizens of Compton are now looking into alternatives to sheriffs/cops, no one wants them in the city other than people that love cops. Hello everyone, As a board member, I would like to share what is going in my life and in my hometown; a city that has a bad rap, but also a city that many of you have sent or received toys from. Before I go on, I would like apologize to Patrick and Moog - I was definitely lashing out because so much has happened here and to me of late, more on that soon, and this all has led to so much more happening since. I understand if either of you don’t accept or anything, that’s fine, but know that I'm sorry. For better or worse, I’ve been on this board for over 6 years, and worked at Toy Art Gallery for just as long. I’ve had many interactions with many of you, almost always pleasant but sometimes not, but no matter what it was the love of toys that brought all of us here. I care about each and every one of you no matter what has happened, even more so because you are all fellow nerds. Long rant ahead. I’m 34 now, Hispanic, born in Torrance, but raised in Compton. My parents are from Mexico. I am the youngest of 4, now 3. My parents are, and always will be, hardworking. My mom did not attend any school, my dad got up to 4th grade in Mexico, which doesn’t mean much, but they came here to start a better life. My oldest sister and brother were born in Mexico but spent most of their lives here. I’m giving this background so that everyone here knows more about me besides what they might have heard. My life wasn’t so bad, but I grew up seeing my black classmates treated like shit and called n*ggers, and I’ve even been called n*gger for hanging out with them. My third grade classmate was killed in front my house, just one of many that would be taken by gang violence or incarceration that began from a cycle of poverty and no opportunities. My privilege, I see it more as a shield, was always being bigger and scary looking when compared to everyone else in my school grade, so I would not get specifically picked on. I say all this because after living and growing up in the same house for 30 years, in Compton, I feel that my position on BLM is obvious. This isn’t a political issue, it’s a human rights issue. I understand there’s plenty of fucked up stuff everywhere, but we need to fix our issues before we can help the rest of the world. I love America, my first Halloween costume in kindergarten was a Captain America suit. It ripped because it was too small! This isn’t what America is supposed to be. I’m very idealistic, and believe that what America always forces down other nations throats should be the same here. Growing up where I did, and also working at Disneyland for 6 years, has allowed me to see things from many view points, races, genders, ideals... or the lack of any of the former. On Thursday, June 18, days before Father’s Day, Andres Guardado was shot and killed at an auto parts shop, near the border of Compton and Gardena city, by Los Angeles Sheriffs Department. The sheriffs said Andres was talking to someone, they saw him procure a gun and they gave chase, ultimately shooting and killing him. At the time reports said the gun was a ghost gun. Compton had their own police force up until the early 2000’s, when it was disbanded for corruption. The city took a contract with the Los Angeles sheriffs to take over the “duties”. I have never had any positive interactions with either of them. The cops before the sheriffs were rough with people, or would stop and yell at us kids about whatever. A few times I heard them yell n*gger at my classmates. It really upset me then, but growing up in an area that most people already demonize, I just accepted that the cops were always trash. When the sheriffs came in, I was already in a Catholic high school and very anti social, I would never go outside of my house. Once I graduated I still managed to avoid them as I began to drive. The few times I was pulled over by them were always at night, reasons were always driving erratically or just "fitting a description." They would look at me, ask if I was drinking or, the one instance that almost escalated, "Who’s hiding in the back?" "I don’t know, you tell me. Aren’t you the one with the flashlight?" was my response. He didn’t like the smart mouth, so he asked if I had ever been arrested. I said I had, I’ve been in cuffs, and he called me a piece of shit and started to walk away. I held my tongue since I didn’t want to get pulled out or who knows what. Besides my own experiences, people living there have suffered from excessive use of force, witness intimidation, and simply being killed. I can understand some of what happens in Compton has to do with gang violence and, in my point of view, it’s going to take a lot of other types of programs to address those issues. That is out of my depth. So taking all this and more that I’ve seen growing up, I don’t believe the sheriffs and their story about Andres. First of all, the sheriffs here DO NOT wear body cameras, that is going to make me suspect them from the beginning considering what trash they have been. Second, they took the video from the shop BEFORE they had a signed warrant, like WTF? Third, Andres' boss said Andres was on his knees when he was shot. Fourth, they have still not released an autopsy report or Andres body to the family, which are both things the sheriffs constantly do. Lastly is the issue with the ghost gun. For those that don’t know, a ghost gun is assembled from extra parts or can be printed or literally made by hand with pieces of metal. It either takes a lot of time, effort, or money to make one of these. Andres and his family live in Koreatown in Los Angeles, that’s about an hour in traffic to get to where he was murdered, the site of his second job. He was trying to help his dad, as he lost most of his work due to the virus shutting down restaurants. So, my issue with the sheriffs is they are also trying to paint him as a thug. Would a kid that is trying to help his dad, but is also a thug and able to pay or make one of these ghost guns, bother driving over an hour away to work minimum wage? Wouldn’t he just go rob and sell drugs? I’m tired of people just listening to the sheriffs or police. As if they are so goddamn perfect. It’s time to question everything that has been going on. On Father’s Day there was a protest for Andres - A walk from where he was killed to the sheriffs station in Compton, about 3.5 miles. I had shown up a bit late, the initial group had already left, random people younger than me were standing around. Another Hispanic dude asked me what was going on, if we wanted to march, let’s do it. So about 30 of us started out. I was pissed and asked them all if they were pissed and wanted to yell. Took out my bullhorn and we yelled. All of us there - Black, Hispanic, White, Asian - were screaming with rage, fellow human beings that are sick of this shit. We get to the area, more that 400 people are present and listening to another Hispanic mother talking about her 15-year-old being shot in the head, then shot a few more times before they put cuffs on his lifeless hands. Then another mother, then another, then another. In all I heard 5 mothers talk about this, they all sounded like my own mother and that’s all I could think about. As another one goes up, we hear some shots, so we run over to another area that was blocked off so that no one could reach the station. We turn a corner and a protester has been hit with a rubber bullet, sheriffs yelling/asking for his name. He said he doesn’t have to give it. About 20 protesters are now 4 feet away, yelling at them to put down their guns. Plenty of men and women in the crowd. I make my way up and look into the sheriffs faces, 2 women and 3 men, a couple of them aiming their barrels at us. I’m already upset at this point, looking into their faces made it worse. The men were smirking, smiling, giggling while they made comments we couldn’t hear. Honestly, what the fuck is wrong with these sheriffs? We pay them to enforce fucked up laws, now I’m paying them to giggle and have fun shooting at people that pay them? It enraged me even more! Some protesters were calling them trash, while others were telling them to put down their guns. A few people were trying to calm the protesters down, so I moved to the front to try and help, with my back to the sheriffs and my middle fingers up. I didn’t notice at first, but one of the sheriffs threw a gas canister at the feet of the crowd. They started to run back as I felt rubber bullets and pepper balls hit me in the back. I didn’t really feel them, as I was fuming with rage; they just made me angrier. I didn’t move, because fuck them, but I did start strafing to try and take some of the other hits - plenty of small women were in the crowd, including a good friend of mine I’ve know for years. She had been recording footage several feet back, and took some steps further back when the cops first started shooting, waiting for me to run out. I didn’t notice her in time, and she was hit in the stomach and crotch. One of the bravest people ever, this 4 foot designer stood her ground and waited for my giant ass. I’ll never forget that. She got away safely as they shot at us again. I was still standing, now facing them and calling them fucking cowards. They were shooting others now since they noticed I wasn’t moving or giving them ground. Someone threw a half empty bottle of water, sheriffs said it was a brick. Same sheriff threw another canister directly at my feet, more rage, so I picked it up, threw it back at them and turned, as I knew they were going to shoot, and they did. I was hit in the back again with three rubber bullets. Two pepper balls hit me in the neck. I could feel the stinging starting to reach my face so I turned around and yelled some more. "Fuck you! I won’t do what you tell me!" I yelled some more and stood their powering up like Vegeta and yelling, took a few steps, stopped and yelled, then started stumbling away as I couldn’t see. My wife had been calling but I was so sweaty I couldn’t open my phone. Some medic came over and washed all the crap out my eyes, that was killer! Eventually I got to my wife’s car, my female friend was there as well. My wife was crying and panicking because she heard all the bangs. My parents home is less than 5 minutes from where this happened, so we went over. It was Father’s Day, so most of my family is outside. Mom asked if I was at the beach, since I was shirtless at this point, then she saw the broken skin, bruises, and blood. They freaked out, mentioned the helicopters in the air, which doesn’t bother them as they are always around. Television reports cut the footage so it shows someone throwing an object at the sheriffs, then the sheriffs shoot, while the reporter states that sheriffs had shot after being assaulted. Lies. The sheriffs' helicopters had been telling outsiders to get out of Compton, we don’t want you starting trouble here, and similar statements. There were many people, mainly younger Hispanics and Blacks, some Asians, and few Whites, but they all looked upset and moved after hearing those mothers crying. If there were outside instigators, I didn’t see any of them when we were being shot at. This brings me to the second protest, the one that occurred on Sunday, June 28. People arrived to the memorial and started a caravan. I went with more gear on in case I was shot again. I also made a protest sign with Godzilla on it, and wore a plush Godzilla hat I bought in Japan over my helmet. The first part was calm, most people were in cars, about 15 of us were up front marching and also directing traffic. When we got to the area around the sheriffs station, they were already set standing on the other side of the barricades. I moved up to the front with my bullhorn and protest sign, stood for a bit yelling at the sheriffs, then took a knee as I was very tired. At this point, I noticed this “influencer” woman started yelling about taking a knee, and that the sheriffs should start listening, or something along those lines. She walked over to me and said, "Let me see that, brother," motioning to the bullhorn, I assumed she was there for the same reason we all were, so I handed it to her. She started asking again for everyone to take a knee, which most people did, but it wasn’t what people wanted. She yelled at some other people that I could not see at the time, telling them if they aren’t going to kneel, then they are not part of this protest, or they are not with us, something along those lines. She said the same old stuff you hear at all the BLM protests you can watch on the news, it's the safest “stance” you can take. But Andres was killed 3.5 miles away from here, most of us already know how the sheriffs are, so them taking a knee at this point means nothing. It’s all for show to us. When the “influencer” woman was done, she gave me the bullhorn in a very forceful way, then sat in front of the barricade in such a dramatic way that I finally looked at her and thought, "Wow that's a bit odd." I Dream of Genie sat very obediently and quietly now as Andres' sister stepped up onto a truck to speak. She told the sheriffs to release the autopsy report, which they haven’t, told them to release his body for burial, they haven’t, and finally told them to fuck off and she hopes they all pay for everything they have done. The random woman had left by this point, everyone cheered for Andres, his family said they would return to the car wash and continue celebrating him. Since everyone was leaving, I wanted to get away before the sheriffs started walking around. The following day, Compton city council held a meeting about the first protest, the one where I was shot. One of the commanders, or whoever is in charge of the sheriffs, when asked about the peaceful protests, said they support them but will defend themselves if attacked, plus that outside agitators had been involved. I am unsure who she was talking about. I managed to speak to a couple of the protesters after the first protest, and most of them are tired of the same story. Others ran with the same circle of people that Andres knew. Either way, we are not the agitators. We are not the ones killing each other. Later that day, some of my friends that were at the last protest brought up that they were the people that had been told by the “influencer” woman to take a knee or they are not with us. I was too busy yelling at the sheriffs to have noticed this, so we started looking into this “influencer” woman. Found out that she is an actress, from Northern California, and goes around taking pics with celebrities then posts on social media as if she has known the celebrity for years. Talk about an outside agitator! Not just that, but a lot of her social media posts are about bringing attention to the good cops. I get it, I’ve met a handful of good cops, but I have NEVER met one in Compton. So anyone that has similar stories, or family that are good cops, great, glad you have had those experiences. It doesn’t change my view, or change any of the garbage ones out here in Compton. Anyway, is she working with the sheriffs? That is what has me on edge now. The point of all this is, I don’t know what is going to happen next. If the conduct of the sheriffs is any indication, they have intimidated protesters that have filed complaints, then I might end up with a ghost gun or falling off a bridge. So just in case, I hope all of you can back up who I was if I go down. When I told my father about what all has been happening, he said to me in Spanish, “I don’t throw myself into the mouths of wolves.” I’m just trying to stand up to them. Enough is enough.