They Killed Ernesto Twice: First with a Bullet, Then by Character Assassination

By Copwatch Santa Ana

“Cops are executioners and that is basically the law, daily. There is nothing to prevent them from exercising deadly force, and they are rarely ever charged, tried or found guilty. Their actions are actually protected by the law, protected by the prosecutor and the DAs office, the courts, the politicians and the media. They are well paid and protected as a force of violence. The organization of the police is accepted despite its death toll and enforcement of poverty, racism and white supremacy. This fucking system of policing needs to be abolished and ‘community safety’ reimagined entirely.”



On January 13, 2016, the Orange County District Attorney’s (OCDA) Office quietly released the investigation findings regarding the February 27, 2015 murder of Ernesto Canepa by Santa Ana Police Department (SAPD) Pig Christopher Shynn. In the DA’s 11 page letter to Chief Pig Carlos Rojas, Shynn’s hands were wiped totally clean of any wrongdoing and applauded for his work while Ernesto’s character was brutally assassinated. To the pigs and DA, Ernesto was just another young undocumented “Hispanic male” with a “criminal history”, making his life disposable and legitimizing his murder.

As members of the community, we won’t sit back and let the State (the OCDA, SAPD, etc.) take one of our own in broad daylight, call the execution justified, and then quietly and swiftly sweep it under the rug. We won’t be silent while they further criminalize and dehumanize Ernesto through character assassination as they did in their letter. Ernesto was a member of our community. His life mattered and had value, regardless of the narrative the state constructed of him. It’s easy for the state to smear victims as monsters when they’re dead and can’t defend themselves, especially for people of color who have historically been perceived as “dangerous” by the white Amerikkkan power structure. The state will always tell us that people like Ernesto were threatening, aggressive, and worthless “gangsters” who deserved to be murdered. This is a trick they use all the time to divide and manipulate our community into tolerating and justifying their violence. We won’t be silent when one of our own gets policed to death.


In the DA’s letter, the justification for his murder is mainly made through a variety of baseless assumptions, lies, and exaggerations from Murderer Shynn and other trained killer kkkops. That’s problematic already. A pig’s testimony already has a ton of legitimacy in these investigations because the public is groomed to believe that the police are truthful and fair. Add the testimonies of many more fellow pigs, and justifying murder is that much easier. According to them, Ernesto “like[d] to run and fight with police officers”, was known to be “uncooperative and combative”, and was “previously connected to criminal gang members”. During SAPD’s encounter with Ernesto on 3rd and Shelton, they said he “demonstrated ‘pre-assaultive’ behaviors by not listening to officers.” Based on Killer KKKop Shynn’s “training and experience”, Ernesto’s “defiant behavior and furtive movements” were “consistent with a person trying to arm himself with a weapon or a person trying to find some way out the car” and “[he] was going to try and do anything he could to get out of the situation.”

SAPD and the DA did everything they could to portray Ernesto as an aggressive beast and then murdered him after the pigs claimed to be in “fear for their lives”. Like we haven’t heard that a million times before. On Feb. 27, 3 pigs rolled up on Ernesto in his car, immediately pointed their guns at him, and escalated a nonviolent situation into a violent one. For what? According to them, they creeped up on him because he was a “suspect” in a robbery of a local resident’s gold chain that happened 2 weeks before. So, even if we were to accept their narrative — they literally murdered him for a piece of jewelry. That’s SAPD’s #communitypolicing for you.


In Amerikkka, we’re socialized as children into thinking the pigs have our best interest at heart. We’re taught to see them as local heroes who risk their lives to protect us. The cops are humanized and glorified unlike any other group in society. We’re told over and over again how dangerous and stressful their job is, how much respect and gratitude we owe them. We’re told to forgive them for their mistakes because they aren’t perfect people. That even though there might be a few bad ones, the majority of pigs are good. When a pig gets murdered, the whole nation mourns. Extravagant funeral processions shut down whole streets and are broadcasted live on 5 different TV channels. Pigs (even their pig dogs) get monuments and statues in local parks to recognize their achievements and honor their lives.  Our society worships them. The colonial mentality runs deep.

But victims of state violence get perceived totally different. “Criminals” get dehumanized and degraded unlike any group in society. The mass media and unfortunately, folks from the community cheer when one of our own gets killed by the pigs. Their lives are devalued and become disposable. They are always to blame for the violence that’s committed against them. Many of us determine the problems in our community (and world) by whoever the state labels a “criminal”, not necessarily by who is doing the harm. When one of our own gets murdered, folks say the pigs are just “cleaning up the trash in the neighborhood”. They say it’s “one less cholo off our streets, who cares?” (again, the colonial mentality runs deep.) No statues, no national day of mourning, no recognition of who those victims actually were beyond their “criminal history”. We’re supposed to just accept it and move on. No questions asked, no anger, no protest.


With a culture like this, it’s easy for the state to incarcerate, deport, murder, and terrorize our communities. The state has so much legitimacy that all it has to do is label someone a “criminal” (or an entire neighborhood, people, etc.) and folks won’t even blink an eye when the state commits its violence. The state and its enforcers are the greatest purveyors of violence around and they’ve managed to convince people that they’re the good guys. The community is always guilty, never the pigs. The pigs are always right and the people are always wrong.


The people are always right and the pigs are always wrong. Their violence is never justified. And members of our community are not disposable.

The state, it’s concept of “crime”, and the pigs all have their function. And they’re not about making our lives better or dealing with actual social harm that exists in our communities. Their functions are to maintain oppressive hierarchies (inequality) through social control (violence). “Crime” is constructed by elites to serve their needs and interests. And the pigs were created to enforce their rules. This makes them our natural enemies, only interested in keeping us down.

Ernesto was one of the countless victims of this system. It’s our duty to keep Ernesto’s memory alive and to not forget what the pigs did to him on Feb. 27, 2015 and what they continue to do with him today.

In honor of his memory, we’re asking folks to take the streets on Feb. 27, 2016, the 1 year anniversary of his murder. Please share this statement with your family, friends, and neighbors.

It’s not over. #Justice4Ernesto



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