Story by Jagada Chambers
Photos by Eduardo Rossal-Cabrera, Orlando Edwards, Jr., and Nissa Tzun
LAS VEGAS, NV - Her words shifted the energy. Each syllable resonated and each held a pain no mother wants to carry. Yet there she was, in the midst of a legal team, elected officials, fed-up community members under the patrolling eye of those who took her baby’s life. “We are not asking for a miracle, we are not asking you to bring him back,” Jeanne Llera said 30-yards from where her son was assassinated. “We just want to see the transparency you won’t reveal.”
Jeanne Llera (center), mother of LVMPD police homicide victim Jorge Gomez stands with her family, Jazmin Gomez, the sister is to her left, and Rene Amador, Jorge's stepmother to the right. July 22, 2020, Las Vegas, NV. Photo by Eduardo Rossal-Cabrera
Her pain highlights the reality that this Country is gripping with.
While peacefully protesting June 1st Jorge Gomez was shot 19 times by Las Vegas Metro Police Department. Jorge Gomez was only 25 years old and has unfortunately been the latest victim at the hands of Metro.
Jorge Gomez' family is calling for the community to come forward with any information regarding Jorge days leading up to the incident and the night of the incident. He was shot in front of tens of people in a heavily surveilled area. PSA filmed by Forced Trajectory Project on June 18, 2020.
Law Enforcement erroneously has taken life after life, and provides less accountability than a fast-food manager upon an employee forgetting to remove mayonnaise from a burger. The execution of Jorge Gomez is no different, only the lengths in which Las Vegas Metro Police Department are taking to cover-up this murder are very telling of the department.
“This case is incredibly important for our State,” Assemblyman and Gomez family legal lead Edgar Flores said. “For two reasons; number one, one of the things that is consistently happening with this dialog is this ‘us versus them mentality’ and anybody that is pro law enforcement is somehow anti Black lives matter and what we are reminding people is, it is not about the individual, but about the institution.
“Here we have a perfect example, with a law enforcement family, a military family that is saying I need to make sure the accountability is in that system to protect my kid, my family.”
Flores continued about the contradiction between policy and practice.
“Nevada is a state that says we consistently have the policies in place,” Flores said. “And every single day they show us in practice it is not happening. “Today is a message of transparency and accountability.”
The nine points of the family's lawsuit are listed here:
* right to peacefully protest
* excessive use of force
* denial of medical care
* substantive due process violation
* unconstitutional customs, practices or policies
* failure to train officers
* ratification of officers' conduct
* battery resulting in wrongful death
Edgar Flores speaks at the press conference for Jorge Gomez on July 22, 2020, held by the Lloyd D. George Federal District Courthouse just yards from where he was gunned down by four LVMPD officers. Las Vegas, NV. Photo by Nissa Tzun
The quest for answers through transparency has not been a strength for the state of Nevada, especially amongst the LVMPD. Officer-involved shootings, fatal chokeholds, chases that have culminated in death are not foreign to this terrain. The execution of Jorge Gomez has the potential to be a catalyst towards change, because answers will be presented this time to some of the pressing questions.
“It happened right in front of a Federal Building,” local organizer Minister Stretch Sanders of New Era Las Vegas said. “So, with those cameras in place it is almost like the wrong situation but the right location. That is what stands out, it happened in the dark, but there was light. With the legal team they have and the support from the community it will be easier to get some results.”
Families United 4 Justice - Las Vegas, a local group of families and survivors impacted by police violence participated in the event, sharing some of the demands they have authored over the last several weeks.
The fatality in itself is hard to digest, coupled with intimate details of the moments leading up to Jorge Gomez’ death make it frightening. From the fact no officers in the vicinity had worn or activated body cameras to the posture in which Jorge Gomez held moments before his demise.
Alma Chavez, the mother of LVMPD homicide victim Rafael Olivas, marches with Jeanne Llera, the mother of LVMPD homicide victim Jorge Gomez during the vigil walk portion of the July 22 event. Las Vegas, NV. Photo by Eduardo Rossal-Cabrera
From specific details that will undoubtedly surface, it is obvious Jorge Gomez did not deserve to die.
With the expected training and knowledge from a “tactical team” it is hard to believe none of the trained officers noticed the firearm Jorge Gomez was carrying was not loaded and was without a magazine. “This definitely seems more like an execution than a shooting death," said Oja Vincent of Forced Trajectory Project.
Clark County resident Nasha Myart, aunt of Sacramento Police homicide victim Stephon Clark, walks alongside Jorge Gomez, the father of LVMPD homicide victim Jorge Gomez, who is a K-9 officer for the casino industry during the vigil walk portion of the July 22 event. Las Vegas, NV. Photo by Orlando Edwards, Jr.