Family of man shot and killed by BPD officer protests outside courthouse

2014-04-16T17:01:00Z 2014-05-16T15:09:13Z Family of man shot and killed by BPD officer protests outside courthouseBy NICK BALATSOS nbalatsos@billingsgazette.com The Billings Gazette

Seven grieving members of the Ramirez family stood in solidarity in front of City Hall and the Yellowstone County Courthouse on Wednesday afternoon, protesting the death of Richard Ramirez.

Demanding justice, the family said they'd stay as long as it took.

Richard was shot and killed by a Billings police officer Monday night.

As the family protested Wednesday, cars honked and people leaned out the window to voice their support.  “Good job!” one man yelled. Others continued driving without reaction.

The family got to the courthouse around 3 p.m., but Richard Ramirez’s sister, Lori Ramirez, said they were prepared to stay “as long as it takes.”

The sign she held was littered with question marks. It read: “Shoot first! Ask questions later?”

Breaking down in tears, she said the family wants justice.

 “I don’t want this to happen to somebody else,” Lori said.

Chief Rich St. John said at a press briefing Wednesday that the officer involved followed protocol.

But Lori Ramirez said her family questions that protocol. She said the police officer should have "given Richard a chance" to get out of the car.

Richard’s mother, Betty Ramirez, held a sign that read: “Guns don’t kill people … But Cops Do!”

Tears ran down Betty’s face. She said she wants the world to know that her son was a good kid.

“He was a good kid. He didn’t deserve to die,” she sobbed.  

Richard’s cousin Hermelinda Ramirez, along with her two grandchildren and her husband, were also protesting.

Through protesting, Hermelinda Ramirez said she hopes to bring about change. In the future, she said, she hopes police officers will use deadly force only as a last resort.

Copyright 2014 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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