Photos by Stephanie Rivera.
Nearly 100 people turned out in support of Woodland Hills resident Feras Morad—an unarmed college student who was fatally shot by a Long Beach police officer—during a rally and march Thursday afternoon near the Long Beach Civic Center and Downtown area.
The 20-year-old, who family members say was planning on studying political science at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) in the fall, was reportedly under the influence of psychedelic mushrooms when police said he threatened to attack an officer responding to a call for assistance on the 4600 block of East 15th Street at about 7:30PM on Wednesday, May 27.
The rally began at 4:00PM in Lincoln Park, followed by a march to the Long Beach Police Department building and throughout the Downtown area, eventually stopping traffic at the intersection of Broadway and Pine Street.
Organizers faced off with police gathered in the intersection and demanded the release of the officer’s name, the start of an indictment process and national recognition of Morad’s death.
“We need to focus on people seeing this because if people forget it, if people ignore it, then Feras dies in that alley like it's nothing,” said organizer and CSULB debater Jordan Menard, who was driving to meet Morad for the first time the night of the incident.
Kamiran Dadah, who has known Morad for two years through debate, said the incident was a wake up call to be active in the face of police brutality, which he’s always noticed.
Feras Morad's sister, Ghada.
“I couldn't just be a face in the crowd anymore, I wanted to do something about it,” Dadah said.
Also present at the demonstration was the older brother of Hector Morejon, an unarmed teen who was fatally shot by Long Beach police on April 23.
"Once I saw [the news] I thought, not again," said Ruben Morejon.
Morejon said he decided to attend the event to show solidarity and continue his call for transparent investigations into these shootings.
"It really broke my heart because I'm still grieving for the loss of my brother," Morejon said.
During the demonstration, Morad’s younger sister Ghada spoke out against what she called unnecessary killings.
"This has to be stopped," she said. "There can be no more lives taken by the police."
Organizers said they plan to continue these demonstrations until changes are made.
A woman, identified as a neighbor, reported Morad acting "irate," while the fire dispatcher was heard stating that Morad was unarmed to a police dispatcher.
According to a press release by the LBPD, Morad threatened to attack the police officer who responded to the call. Family and friends have stated he was walking aimlessly and in need of medical attention.
The officer involved in the shooting was reassigned to a non-field position pending investigation, officials said.
This article was updated on Friday, June 5 at 4:00PM with more information on the shooting and a quote from Ruben Morejon.