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Community demands justice for Erica Flores

SOUTH BEND, Ind -- Sunday afternoon the community gathered to show support and demand justice for the family of Erica Flores.

The 22-year-old mother of two was killed July 20th when she was hit by South Bend Police Patrolmen Justin Gorny who was on his way to a call.

On Friday a grand jury decided not to indict the officer.

Knowing charges won’t be filed, Erica’s sister Soraida Flores feels discouraged.

She now has guardianship of Erica's 5-year-old and 4-year old daughters. 

“I feel like she was killed again,” she said.

Activist Sam Centellas expressed his frustration with a grand jury.

“The hard part with a grand jury is that we don’t know what happened there. We don’t know what evidence was presented, what evidence wasn’t presented. And we don’t know why this decision was made,” he said.

“The officer killed an unarmed person of color, but in this instance, the weapon was not a speeding bullet, but a speeding car,” one speaker at the rally said.

The Flores family says that the officer was going 90 miles per hour at the time of the crash.

The officer was driving on Western Avenue with his emergency lights on when his patrol car hit Erica.

Erica’s younger sister Kimberly Ruiz wants everyone to know how good of a person Erica was. She said that Erica loved and worked hard for her daughters.

“She’s coming home from work, and she gets killed,” Ruiz said devastated.

“You can see the evidence was clear how fast the police officer was going. It was released that she was going through a green light and following the speed limit. So you look at those things and think clearly this was violation of police policy and procedure, and how that wasn’t clear to a grand jury we don’t know,” Centellas said.

“I just want justice like anyone else would have,” Soraida Flores demanded.

“The basic level of justice is to have some transparency,” said Centellas.

He said that transparency in the case is needed so Erica’s family can heal and forgive.

“Why can’t this be public?” Ortiz questioned.

“If my sister would be the one that would have committed the crime, she wouldn’t be on the streets, she’d be locked up.”

The St. Joseph County Prosecutor requested the jury review evidence of police procedure, audio logs, video of before the crash as well as the crash, data from the vehicles and any other evidence the jury asked FACT to present.

The grand jury returned a “no bill” which means they didn’t find enough evidence to indict.

ABC57 has reached out to South Bend Police Department; they say the department is still conducting an internal investigation.

Officer Gorny is still recovering from his injuries.

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