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60 Protest Grand Jury’s Decision in Police Slaying

Times Staff Writer

More than 60 demonstrators chanting “We want justice!” protested Wednesday in Westminster against an Orange County Grand Jury decision not to indict police officers involved in the fatal shooting of Frank Martinez.

Rodney Burge, a protest organizer, said the decision to demonstrate was made late Tuesday, a day after the grand jury decided there was “insufficient evidence” to indict anyone involved in the July 15 shooting.

“We are very upset with the fact that the grand jury was trying to keep us from finding out the facts, rather than getting at the truth,” Burge said.

The demonstrators were also critical of the handling of the case by the Orange County district attorney’s office and had harsh words for the Westminster City Council and the Police Department.

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Groups represented at the demonstration included the Equal Rights Congress, Hermandad Mexicana Nacional and MEChA student groups from Rancho Santiago Community College, UC Irvine, Cal State Fullerton and high schools in Westminster and Santa Ana.

Police have maintained that Martinez, 18, was shot after he and an angry mob attacked three officers during a birthday party for Martinez’s mother in the back yard of the Martinez residence. The attack allegedly occurred after police tried to question Joel Martinez Jr., brother of the dead man, about a gang incident in the neighborhood.

Martinez was shot once by an unidentified police officer when he allegedly charged an officer with a beer bottle.

His family, however, has said that police shot the unarmed Martinez as he tried to get up and flee.

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