Friday, July 29, 2005

San Leandro Cop Killed Around The Corner

Cop-killer Irving Ramirez
Originally uploaded by wonderbread74.
Last Monday afternoon, four hispanic painters were applying brown paint to the trim around the windows and sliding doors of an upstairs balcony on Doolittle Road. Later that night these would be the catbird seats to the slaying of San Leandro police officer, Dan Niemi.

The papers describe the location as the 14700 block of Doolittle Road. Specifically, the corner of Belvedere and Doolittle--is a dead end to the long roadway that extends all the way to Oakland and to the life of the first San Leandro policeman killed in nearly 40 years.

The slaying of Officer Niemi occured just around the corner in my Marina Faire neighborhood. In an otherwise, quiet and unexciting area, the idea that such a cold, brutal murderer like the 23-year-old Salvadoran national, Irving Ramirez, could merely be in the vicinity calls into question a vulnerability and powerlessness so strong that it probably illicits the same trepidation that the citizens of London, Madrid and New York feel from past terrorist attacks.

As most liberal bloggers would submit, the death penalty disportionately punishes the poor and lowers the state to the same barbaric level as the killer, but how can we excuse such a heinous crime as the one seen last Monday?

The alleged killer, Ramirez, whom the local media continues to attach his street nickname--Gotti--a clear reference to organized crime boss, John Gotti, and evokes some sort of murderous professional boxer entering the ring, fearing the officer would discover the two handguns and drugs in the vehicle, shot Niemi in the torso. While maimed the officer scrambled for his gun until Ramirez, reportedly stood over the officer and shot him six times, execution-style.

I've driven past the memorial contained within the center of the roundabout bordered in rubber. Bouquets of flowers decorate the otherwise nondescript street sign. Some lie on the ground while others are propped up with white metal stand. Someone added an American flag yesterday that waves over a sign that reads: We'll never forget.

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