Activists to march in Bradenton to protest police brutality
MANATEE -- A local activist group will be marching and rallying Saturday afternoon in support of the protests in Ferguson, Mo,. and what they say is police brutality in Manatee County.
People are expected to rally at the intersection of State Road 70 and U.S. 41 at noon and will then march to the 1900 block of 51st Avenue West, where Elias Guadarrama died in January.
While investigating a vehicle burglary, deputies saw Guadarrama involved in drug deal and a chase soon ensued, according to the Manatee County Sheriff's Office. Guadarrama, ignored commands by deputies to stop and fired at least four shots back.
When deputies caught up to him in the backyard of a duplex, he was ordered to show his hands, deputies said. Instead he shot himself in the head, the report said.
Guadarrama's mother says that deputies shot and killed her son.
The rally, organized by ANSWER Coalition Suncoast, will begin at noon.
Water and signs will be provided, but those who come are encouraged to bring their own, according to a news release.
"Police claim that he committed suicide, but everyone who knows Elias believes that the officers are lying," said the release sent by Bryan Ellis, coordinator for ANSWER Suncoast.
Rally organizers are calling for an end to police corruption in Manatee County, the release of Manatee County Sheriff's Office's official records and evidence related to Guadarrama's death and for all witnesses to come forward in order to further investigate.
The sheriff's office was made aware of the planned event when Ellis made a public records request for the reports, according to spokesman Dave Bristow.
"It's an open-and-shut case," Bristow said. "It was a thorough case and there is absolutely no disputing the fact that it was self-inflicted. One of the best homicide detectives we have worked on the case."
The Manatee Sheriff's Office did make all reports related to Guadarram's death available Friday afternoon, since the investigation is now complete.
Guadarrama had arrest history that included several drug-related charges. His most recent arrest was Feb. 16, 2013, on a charge of violating probation, according to the sheriff's website.
On Aug. 23, ANSWER Suncoast held a similar rally in Sarasota in support of the Ferguson protests and the death of Bradenton man Rodney Mitchell, who was shot by a Sarasota sheriff's deputy two years ago in Newtown,
Jessica De Leon, Herald law enforcement reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7049. You can follow her on Twitter@JDeleon1012.