The family of Erik Salgado lead a large procession, marching from Elmhurst Middle School in East Oakland on Monday, June 8, to the site where Erik Salgado was shot and killed by California Highway Patrol officers this weekend. (Beth LaBerge/KQED)
Hundreds of demonstrators showed up for a youth-led march in East Oakland Monday afternoon, demanding justice for a young man shot and killed by California Highway Patrol officers late Saturday night.
Although authorities have released little information about the incident, protesters contend CHP officers fired a hail of bullets at a car driven by Erik Salgado, an Oakland native in his early 20s, killing him and injuring his pregnant girlfriend in the passenger seat.
Joined by members of Salgado's family, demonstrators gathered Monday afternoon in front of Elmhurst United Middle School — which he once attended — raising their fists in the air, faced all four directions and took a knee.
Chanting "Say his name," the group then marched to the site of the shooting on the 9600 Block of Cherry Street, where a makeshift memorial had been erected.
“Erik was a good daddy, he was a good brother, he was a good primo [cousin], a good dad,” Amanda Majail-Blanco, Salgado’s sister, told the crowd at the site where he was killed. “He was a product of the streets like all of us are, a product of his environment. That don’t make him a bad person. That don’t make him a criminal.”
Calling it “no less than a public execution,” organizers claim that CHP officers fired more than 40 rounds at Salgado's car, and are demanding the officers involved be immediately identified and detained, with personnel records made public.
“They could have shot a child, they could have shot anybody, they could have shot into someone’s home and killed someone, but clearly they didn’t care. We want justice for Erik, we want it now,” said Hoku Jeffrey, a national organizer with the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action Integration and Immigrant Rights and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary (BAMN), a social justice group involved in the march.
News of the shooting comes in the midst of massive protests against police violence that have raged for weeks in scores of cities across the country — including many in the Bay Area — sparked by the May 25 death of George Floyd, an unarmed 46-year-old black man killed at the hands of Minneapolis police.
“We organized this march because we were appalled at the murder of Erik Salgado,” said Isha Clarke, 17, who helped organize the demonstration with other Oakland youth. “Even when the whole world is watching, police terrorize our communities and broadcast their complete disregard for black and brown life.”
Unlike Floyd's death, there is no readily accessible video footage capturing Saturday's shooting, and details remain murky. However, two nearby houses apparently had cameras pointed at the scene of the shooting and neighbors said CHP investigators took copies of those videos to review, according to Oaklandside news editor Darwin BondGraham.
The Oakland Police Department, the lead agency investigating the incident, has said only that CHP officers were conducting a criminal investigation at the time of the incident. On Sunday, NBC Bay Area reported that one police source said investigators believe the Dodge Challenger Salgado was driving is one of 72 cars that were stolen from a San Leandro Dodge dealership during a spate of looting incidents the previous week.
“The City of Oakland is committed to conducting a rigorous and transparent investigation into this fatal shooting that occurred in our city,” Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said in a statement Monday.
The CHP and the Alameda County District Attorney's Office are also conducting independent investigations.
“I'm angry as a spectator. I'm angry as someone whose been incarcerated. I'm angry as someone whose gone to protests, been gassed and zip-tied,” said Hayden Reynato, an organizer with Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice, who participated in the march and vigil for Salgado. “At the same time, I'm angry for all my friends and family who have been hurt over this.”
This report includes additional reporting from KQED's Susie Neilson and The Associated Press. It will be updated as more information becomes available.