The sister of a man killed by a Metro Blue Line train in Long Beach said she doesn’t accept the police department’s explanation that her brother was accidentally struck by the train while fleeing from an officer who stopped him on suspicion of skipping out on paying his fare.
Evelia Granados said Thursday that her family is pushing authorities to release video of the incident and reveal more details about what happened.
“I don’t think that because he didn’t pay his fare, they should’ve killed him,” she said about her brother, 23-year-old César Rodriguez.
Long Beach police said Rodriguez was struck by the train on Aug. 29. They said he was trying to escape from an officer who’d stopped him on suspicion of fare evasion and drug possession when the train pinned him against the platform.
Metro officials said security video is recorded at its platforms and that video is being reviewed as part of the investigation.
Rodriguez’s death stoked what was already a smoldering issue among some rider advocates who allege Metro and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department unfairly target minorities with fare enforcement citations.
Granados spoke at a news conference organized by the Labor Community Strategy Center, which has sparred with Metro over policing and fare collection.
The group’s organizer, Eric Mann, called on Metro to remove all police from trains and stop charging passengers.
“This young man is dead because, at most, he did not pay his fare,” he said.
Last year, the Labor Community Strategy Center — the parent organization of the Bus Riders Union — filed a civil-rights complaint against Metro and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department alleging that black riders were stopped for fare evasion and other violations at a disproportionate rate.
From 2012 through 2015, black riders received 50 percent of all fare evasion citations even though they make up only 19 percent of the rail ridership, the group charged.
At the time, the U.S. Department of Transportation said it was reviewing the complaint. The DOT’s office of civil rights did not immediately respond to a message Thursday.
The issue of security on the rail system became more complicated earlier this year when the Metro board of directors voted to split up policing duties.
In late June, the LAPD and Long Beach Police…