Target: Bakersfield Police Chief Greg Williamson
Goal: Fire officer who allegedly played with the body of a man police had shot and murdered.
Accusations of tickling a dead man’s feet and saying that he “loved playing with dead bodies” have landed Bakersfield, California police officer Aaron Stringer in the middle of an internal investigation. If these allegations are true, Stringer is responsible for the gross violation of a dead person’s dignity. Demand that he be fired from the Bakersfield Police Department at once.
Twenty-two-year-old Ramiro James Villegas was shot multiple times and killed by Bakersfield police on November 13, 2014. After his body was moved to a local medical center, multiple witnesses report seeing Officer Stringer touching him inappropriately, including saying “tickle, tickle,”as he scratched Villegas’ feet, trying to move his head multiple times and complaining about rigor mortis having set in when it kept returning to its original position, and telling other officers present that he “loves playing with dead bodies.”
After the witnesses to Stringer’s behavior came forward, Police Chief Greg Williamson put Stringer on paid administrative leave and launched an internal investigation, which is ongoing. Bakersfield’s district attorney office has declined to press charges against Stringer because it says he did not violate any laws, but this kind of callous behavior should nonetheless have consequences. Sign the petition below to demand that Police Chief Williamson fire Stringer if his investigation reveals that these allegations are true.
Dear Chief Williamson,
I am writing you today regarding Senior Officer Aaron Stringer. The allegations that have been leveled against are truly disturbing and he deserves to be held responsible for them.
Police around the country are, rightfully, under very intense scrutiny at the moment for their casual use of deadly force and blatant insensitivity, especially towards communities of color. Stringer’s alleged behavior is an example of the kind of profound disconnect police departments have with the communities they ostensibly “serve and protect.”
Whether or not the murder of Ramiro James Villegas at the hands of police was justified, human decency demands that his body be respected and not abused or made light of. Stringer made a mockery of that expectation of decency. As Villegas’ sister, Sarina Gonzalez, put it, “It’s disturbing. It’s sickening. It’s hurtful. It’s not okay. It’s not okay.”
Even though what he did might not have been against the law, it is still so far beyond the pale for any vision of ethical or moral behavior that he deserves to face repercussions. Any officer who lacks human empathy to such an extent that they can do what Stringer did has no business being in law enforcement. I demand that you fire him at once if your investigation reveals that the allegations against Stringer are true.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: KBAK Eyewitness News via New York Daily News