I hugged mom, we both hugged each other with tears running down our face, and she said “I’m so sorry, Chan.” That’s when I knew it was true. In the middle of the street, I could see a body covered with a white sheet. I didn’t want to believe it unless I saw him with my own eyes. I asked the cops who were there if I could just identify him. “Just tell me what tattoo is on his right arm, just tell me something.” I kept telling them, “I don’t have to go too close, I just need to know for sure if that’s my father.”
“No,” they wouldn’t give me any answers to anything. I stayed there 8 hours into the next day’s morning. All I knew was that he was shot. Why? I had no idea. I wasn’t leaving my father. One officer upset me when he asked my mother if this is how she wants me to remember my father? She made it clear we weren’t leaving. The officer replied, “Well, it’s not like he’s going anywhere.”
That’s when I just walked away from him.
An officer eventually told me that they would ask the coroner's office if I could see him to identify him before they took him, and with that little much being said it brought me a little bit of peace. But I found out it was a lie. Before I knew it, they took my father and I wasn’t able to see him or even say goodbye.
My cousins came out of my aunt’s house where my father was shot, and we walked to where the bloodstains were on the floor, in the middle of the street. I touched his blood, still wet, and started crying. That was the moment I knew I was without a father.
I just wanted to know, did he say anything before he took his last breath? Were you able to look him in the eyes? What did you see? Was he in pain? Did you think twice? I am still left with no answers to what really happened when they took my father from me. All these murders from cops who kill, never did I think it would hit so close to home.
As much as that day was hard for us, we met such loving people, families that had been through this same situation, their loved ones also killed by police officers, the families of Oscar Grant, Antonio Guzman, and Diana Showman. Families who are out there going through the same thing, we are here for you. We take this fight and long battle next to you. Keep your heads up and remember the good times, just know that your loved one is at peace and is next to you every day.
If this unfortunate predicament happens to anyone and I pray it doesn’t, the first thing you should do is mourn. Mourn in peace for your loved one. Focus on a proper burial for your loved one. It took two weeks to raise money and bury my father, but once I did I hopped on the case and got as much evidence as I could. I took initiative of asking the neighbors what they knew instead of asking the cops for answers. Ask for help if needed, there are plenty of families out there that are going through the same thing and we are more than willing to help as much as we can.
My father was always over protective not only of his children, but his family members and close friends. He was the guy who let me throw my veggies away when mom wasn’t looking, bought me my first bike; he was always the person that made sure you were ok. If he was down to his last dollar he would give it to you. If you were ever cold he was quick to take the jacket off his back to make sure you were warm, even if that meant he was cold. He was a loving, caring, and a giving father and grandfather. I trusted him with my life. He would give me life lessons or boost up my confidence when I needed that extra little push to fulfill my dreams in life. He always believed in me even if I didn’t believe in myself.
"Justice for Harpo" is something we never thought we would have to say, but I won’t give up until I find out the truth. I love you pops and I miss you!!
Love, Baby Harpo.