For 90 minutes citizens of Los Banos bombarded our city council (Aug. 7 meeting) with questions pertaining to the most recent homicide.
The family, friends and supporters asked why the individual responsible for the death of their loved one has not been arrested. Citizens also spoke directly to our police chief questioning him on profiling, violating their rights, and overall treatment of our citizens.
The family, friends and supporters were seeking answers and justice.
Mayor Mike Villalta danced around the questions and provided no answers.
Since our police chief was present during the meeting, shouldn't he be fielding the questions? This action displayed a vote of no confidence on our police chief.
Can there be justice for this homicide in Los Banos? Was there justice for the death earlier this year of the 20-year-old youth? Was there justice for the 14-year-old shot in the abdomen? Was there justice for the two homicides at Club Azul? The prosecutor was only able to obtain a plea bargain on one of the individuals arrested. That individual received a 10-year sentence for each murder.
A retired teacher also addressed the city council, asking why there is no police presence or visibility in our city. He questioned their lack of response to our citizens. He also asked why the city purchased three high-tech motorcycles at a cost of $165,000, yet seldom used.
The demonstrations, anger, and frustrations by the citizens of Los Banos clearly display a lack of confidence on our police department and our city council. It raises the question of who is to be held accountable; and what actions are necessary to assure the safety of the citizens of Los Banos, and justice for the families of victims.
Baldo Salcido, Los Banos