On December 11, 2009, Caesar Cruz was tragically ripped away from his loving family, a life cut too short by the Anaheim Police Department.
The killing of Caesar, left his mother, Theresa Smith, devastated and angry. She knew that the only way to heal would be to find peace and justice in the midst of the violence. On December 13, 2009, two-days after Caesar was killed, Theresa began protesting outside Anaheim Police Department. Theresa says, “I wanted the whole world to know what they did to my son and that I was not going to go away.” Soon other families whose loved ones were killed by police violence joined her. She protested every Sunday for over three-years and she continues to do so from time to time.
Since then Theresa has met with government officials to advocate for policy changes and help to push for police oversight and further accountability.
Theresa continues to work to insure other’s would not end up like Caesar and in 2010, she founded the Law Enforcement Accountability Network, or L.E.A.N.