Free Joaquin Cienfuegos Now!

Joaquin Cienfuegos, a community activist and organizer with Revolutionary Autonomous Communities, Copwatch Los Angeles and Anarchist People of Color, is under attack and needs your support.Last week, Cienfuegos was stopped by police and charged with carrying a concealed weapon, a serious crime that carries prison time in California.One of Joaquin’s comrades gave permission to post his account of what went down.

Update from Joaquin: "Out on bail, fighting my case, still standing strong!" (from Joaquin's blog)

About sending donations in solidarity with Joaquin.

Please send donation check or money order to:

Free Joaquin
P.O. Box 292344
Los Angeles, Ca. 90029. USA

Important -
Make the check or money order out to:
Maria Cortez
Do Not Send Cash

Free the Black Riders Liberation Party 3 / Joaquin-Cop Watch (video one week before Joaquin's arrest)

D'(A)ngelo's video calling to Free Joaqin

ZACF & the Anarchist Black Cross (South Africa) demands that the trumped-up charge against U.S. community activist be dropped.

Workers Solidarity Alliance's letter to the Mayor of Los Angeles.

Out on bail, fighting my case, still standing strong!

I was just released this morning at 8am after being woken up at 3am, thanks to you comrades and your support.

I can't begin to tell everybody how thankful I am. I trusted you all to know what to do and to do the right thing.

I was in isolation, segregated, and on lock down for majority of the time at Men's County Jail Twin Towers (in a little dungeon), and only had contact with my cell mate and the pig deputies. I didn't leave my cell not even to eat. I didn't involve myself in prison-politics and told people I'm that I was a revolutionary. I feel like that is one of the reasons why they had me on lock down, and because of my charge.

On the inside there were hundreds, over 90%, Brown and Black men. I met many people who were rounded up illegally by the Los Angeles Police Department. There were many cases, in one instance a Mexican man was stopped by and undercover pig in the Pico Union District, when he was walking, they took his ID and said it was false. He had been in america for 14 years and was now going to be separated from his family. In another case, a young Chicano was framed for a robbery he did not do and had a year taken from his life, and another Mexican male had been fighting a murder case he was innocent of for 3 years. There was a Black youth, who the police planted some weed on.

This is business as usual in Los Angeles. They need to put the thousands of new police officers to use in Los Angeles, and the jail needs to get that county money. This is the reality for our sisters and brothers, we are pushed into the system, and they want to keep us locked up or kill us off for good. The prison industrial complex exists, and to these people it's all business -- they don't care about us. All they care about is their empire and their profits.

On June 27th at around 10pm, I was dropping off my comrade at his house when the Hollywood police stopped us because my car doesn't have any license plates (I just got my car and it has a DMV permit on the front wind shield). What they saw was two young males of color in a car. They pulled me out the car, handcuffed me, and went into my pockets to get my driver's license. They then decided to go into my trunk without my consent. They began to pull out my personal belongings, all legal to carry in my trunk. They saw some fliers for the Summer Solidarity Festival/Free the Black Rider 3 event on July 12th, and saw a black case. They pulled out the case and asked me what was in it and pulled out an all-legal AR-15 riffle that is in my name. After this, they had already put me in the back seat of their car, and called their sergeant to plan their story and find anything to arrest me for.

They finally booked me at around 2 in the morning for carrying a loaded firearm and having four warrants, after they illegally searched my car. After spending the weekend in Parker Center on Monday I found out that the pigs had changed their story. They said they had stopped me for passing a stop sign (when I had made a right hand turn), they said they had done a legal search of my car, and were charging me with illegal possession of an assault riffle.

It's good to be on the outside though, and hope to help with the fund raising, our projects, and support for other comrades (like our sister who I hear caught a case as well). I also hope to remain in contact with people I met on the inside.

I apologize for taking time and resources away from the community and base building that you are all doing to focus on this case of pigs being pigs. I hope to fight it all the way through with the support of the community, organizations, and my family so we can show that it is a political case.

I don't apologize for standing up for my right to defend myself, our peoples and our communities. I could of handled the situation differently to avoid this situation, but anybody who resists will be beat down and smashed by the state, that's just the law of this motherfucking beast. I'm glad we're organized to deal with it on a small level. This isn't the first or the last time the fascist state has done this. They wanted to paint me as a gangster because I was legally carrying a gun, yet if I was a white male member of the National Riffle Association, I wouldn't get hassled for having a legal riffle, when the SWAT team and their imperialist army carries them as well. It is obvious that they have waged war on our communities and indigenous people everywhere, and we will continue to build a revolutionary popular movement of different communities to make some fundamental changes and take our territories back from the empire. That's what I have decided to live my life for. I understand that this process is a struggle, and those in the power structure will not allow this without a fight.

Today I'm just resting up, catching up with my family, running errands and getting back to people.

Hopefully we can meet up and make some plans, my phone is still inside my car that was impounded but you can leave me messages with your numbers (I'll be checking it).

We can't do this on our own, thanks comrades, lets keep moving forward.


Thanks again for the support compas.

Siempre en lucha!

For support continue to contact the comrades from the Revolutionary Autonomous Communities and the Guerrilla Chapter of Cop Watch Los Angeles as well as my other friends and family doing support.

At around 11 p.m. we were driving down Lexington Avenue, where were we passed by the two pigs, who were looking at us as we drove by them. Before we got to the end of the block (Lexington and Cahuenga), they hit the lights on us.

Joaquin said “they’re pulling us over” as we were turning down my block (La Mirada Avenue). I told Joaquin not to stop until we got in front of my house, because if they were going to kill us or beat our asses, it was going to happen on my block and in front of my house where people could see.

As he slowed down in front of my house, the pigs came to each side of the car and one ask, “what took you so long to pull over?” and I said, “Because I told him not to stop until we got in front of my house, where we know we’re safe.” The pig said, “you are safe.” I told them “we were in front of my house” and what my address was.

At this point, they asked Joaquin for his drivers license. He didn’t have it because just three or so weeks ago he was robbed and had his his wallet, cell phone taken. They told him to exit the car, where they put cuffs on him right away and asked me if I was on parole or probation and I told them no.

I also told them Joaquin needed to get my wheelchair out of his trunk so I can get out of his car. The pig came to the driver’s side of the car and popped the trunk, went to the back and put the wheelchair together. At that point the pig saw a machete in the trunk and asked Joaquin “what was he doing with a machete?” Joaquin said that “he does gardening work from time to time and it shouldn’t be ‘illegal’ to have a machete in his trunk.”

As I exited the car. they told me I could go home. So I crossed the street and observed them from in front of my home. From afar, I hear the pig ask Joaquin, “what’s in this case?” He lifted the case out of the trunk and went to the back of the squad car… I went into my house to make some calls and then came straight back out, and saw one of the pigs searching the car and ask, “are you going to tow his car?” The pig said “that he has a suspended license” and yes he was.

He then asked me, “did I know that he had an illegal gun in the trunk?” I told the pig, “that’s not my business and how was the gun illegal when I went with him to Turners to buy the gun?” he then said that “It was loaded.”

A couple of members of CW-LA guerrillas showed up with cameras and they took Joaquin off to the Hollywood Division.

Over the weekend, Cienfuegos was transferred from Hollywood Division to the Parker Center. At a court date on Monday, he was charged with felony “possession of concealed weapon.” Cienfuegos is being held on $40,000 bail, and has had his car impounded.

The arrest of Joaquin Cienfuegos is not without context. Cienfuegos has been active in Anarchist People of Color, anti-police brutality and self-determination circles. He has been outspoken in his community organizing, and continues to work actively for a new world. For police to pull over organizers is no coincidence. It is time to mobilize in support of an important voice!

A fundraising committee to try and gain Joaquin’s release is being established. Those in L.A. are encouraged to attend. The meeting will be held Wednesday, July 2 at 6:30 p.m. at Chuco Justice Center, 253 W. Martin Luther King Blvd. Please visit for more updates.


Joaquin has been known to us for some years now as a voice of militancy and reason in the Los Angeles area, working with Cop-Watch LA, Anarchist People of Color, and Revolutionary Autonomous Communities. His arrest at the end of June on a felony charge of possession of a concealed weapon – a legally-purchased firearm kept in the boot of his car while he was driving it – appears to be concocted by members of the Los Angeles Police Department who have come under the uncomfortable community scrutiny of Cop-Watch Los Angeles.

The felony possession charge is a serious one as it carries a prison sentence and bail has been set at an exorbitant $40,000 (almost R315,000), which is obviously designed to keep him behind bars awaiting arraignment. The community is attempting to raise bail, but Joaquin’s arrest demonstrates quite clearly the hurdles that police – with no genuine case against their suspect – are prepared to throw in the face of ordinary people who simply demand the democratic right to ensure that the police do not abuse their powers.

Joaquin is obviously known and intensely disliked by the LAPD and every minute he is in their custody, his life is at risk. We demand that the bogus charge against him be dropped immediately and that he be returned unharmed to his community. We call for an international campaign by progressive and community organisations for his release.

ISSUED BY: Michael Schmidt (international secretary, Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front, Johannesburg, and on behalf of the ABC-South Africa)

July 3, 2008

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
200 North Spring St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Fax at (213) 978-0655

Dear Mr. Mayor:

Please find the Worker Solidarity Alliance's (WSA) statement of solidarity with Mr. Joaquin Cienfuegos of Copwatch LA.

This statement is in regards to the arrest by the Los Angeles Police/Sheriff Department of one Mr. Joaquin Cienfuegos on JUNE 26, 2008 at roughly 11:00PM in Los Angeles.

We the undersigned on behalf of the Worker Solidarity Alliance, and it’s collective membership, one and all, stand in solidarity with and demand the immediate release of one Joaquin Cienfuegos, a founding member of Cop-Watch Los Angeles, from the custody of the Los Angeles Police/Sheriffs Department.

Mr. Cienfuegos, a longtime political and social activist, has long been under special scrutiny by the LAPD for his political stances and his social advocacy work in the community. And based upon the details of Mr. Cienfuegos arrest that have come to our attention we of the WSA feel very strongly that the LA Police/Sheriffs departments have singled out Mr. Cienfuegos for special scrutiny and treatment in this case based upon his political activism, and as such we consider Mr. Cienfuegos to be a political prisoner of the LA Police/Sheriff departments and the City of Los Angeles. We feel strongly that the arrest of Mr. Cienfuegos was carried out in violation of Mr. Cienfuegos civil rights and with malicious intent by the Los Angeles Police/Sheriff Department and the arresting officers.

Furthermore we feel strongly that every day that Mr. Cienfuegos remains in the custody of the LAPD that his well-being, health, and in fact very life, are threatened due to his political stance and activism vis-vis the LAPD. The exorbitant 40,000 USD amount set for Mr. Cienfuegos bail is completely unacceptable, and in our eyes is clearly an attempt to keep Mr. Cienfuegos in indefinite police custody pending trial, we feel strongly that this unacceptably high bail is a malicious attempt by the judiciary of the city of Los Angeles to castigate and punish Mr. Cienfuegos due to his political and social activism.

We the membership of the Worker Solidarity Alliance stand in full solidarity with Mr. Joaquin Cienfuegos, and if any physical harm should befall Mr. Cienfuegos during his time in the custody of the Los Angeles Police Department, or any other department or agency of the city of Los Angeles, we the WSA will hold you, the Mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa, the Los Angeles Police/Sheriff Department, and the judiciary of the city of Los Angeles directly and personally responsible for any such misfortune.

Free Joaquin!

In solidarity with Joaquin Cienfuegos!

Very truly yours,

Workers Solidarity Alliance
339 Lafayette St, Room 202
New York, NY 10012

WSA California:
San Francisco:

Joaquin Soon to be Released

An update from Joaquin Cienfuegos’ outside support in Los Angeles:

We collected $3,000 to bail Joaquin out [and] went to the bail bondsman earlier tonight and paid the bond. [Cops have] since they locked up many people this weekend they were taking longer than usual to process people and get them bonded out. Bondsman said he should be out after midnight or early next morning. More updates when we hear from him that he’s out.

Donations are still needed to pay back money for the bail. Details soon.