In 2009 Theresa Smith lost her son. Today she works to transform the cycle of violence that led to his death.
On December 11, 2009 Caesar Cruz was fatally shot by officers of the Anaheim Police Department on the basis of a false tip from a police informant. Cruz was a husband and a father of five, and was on his way to pick up his children from school when he was killed. The city of Anaheim eventually settled with Caesar's family after a lengthy court battle, but admitted no wrongdoing.
Theresa Smith, Caesar's mother, knew this was not enough. She participated in local rallies and vigils, connected with other mothers and families grieving their own loved ones, began speaking at local and national events, and started a weekly support group in her garage. In 2010, Theresa founded the Law Enforcement Accountability Network (LEAN) to support other mothers and families in her situation and advocate for changes in the relationship between law enforcement and local communities.