Police
After police killing of a 13-year-old boy, activists call for Latino version of Black Lives Matter
LPO spoke to Robert Cintli Rodríguez, a survivor of police abuse, who analyzed the murder of Adam Toledo and spoke of the need for a movement like Black Live Matter to denounce abuses against Latinos.

As communities across America grapple with a spate of deadly police shootings and their aftermath, the recent death of a 13-year-old Mexican-American in Chicago has led to calls from the Latino community to do more to organize and call for police reform.

On March 29, Adam Toledo, a 13-year-old resident of the heavily Latino area of Little Village in Chicago, was shot dead by a police officer who had ordered him to stop. Body-camera footage later released to the public shows that Toledo was shot in the chest immediately after raising his hands.

While the details of the incident are still in debate - with a lawyer for the officer initially claiming that he had ‘no choice' after seeing that the young man had a concealed firearm - had renewed calls for police reform in Latino communities.

Is the Democratic Party too far left for some Latinos? 

"I feel grief, anger and pain. Whatever the circumstance, we must never normalize the shooting of a child by police," said Democratic congressman Jesus ‘Chuy' Garcia, who represents the area in Washington. "We failed Adam, as we have failed so many other young people in our country."

"Despite repeated calls for police accountability and systemic reform, Latino and Black youth continue to be killed by police," the statement added. "We must acknowledge decades of policies that perpetuate systemic racism, sanction police brutality, and fail our youth." 

Despite repeated calls for police accountability and systemic reform, Latino and Black youth continue to be killed by police

While much of the focus of the US media has been on police killings that have led to the death of African-Americans in the country - such as the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer who was convicted of murder earlier this week - Latinos are also killed by authorities at a disproportionate rate.

Among those who have been keeping close track the killings of Latinos in the US is University of Arizona professor Robert Cintli Rodriguez. In 1979, Rodriguez was himself hospitalized - and nearly died - after being badly beaten by police in East Los Angeles after photographing officers assaulting an innocent man.

While he was later placed under arrest and charged for allegedly assaulting officers, he fought the case over the course of two trials and won after a seven-and-a-half-year legal battle.

US works to combat vaccine mistrust and misinformation among Latinos

In an interview with LPO, Rodriguez said that he believes there is a "media bias" in national coverage of police killings.

"You see the coverage, but locally. In this country, you have a literal national conversation taking place, but you would never know that Latinos are affected. There is no one case that people can point to," he said. "Some seem to think that Latinos are an immigration story, and that that shouldn't be messed up by the police."

Additionally, Rodriguez believes that many Latino organizations have lacked "focus" in the aftermath of the deaths of African-Americans at the hands of police.

"It was kind of weird that when George Floyd was killed, there was a big coalition of Latino organizations that came out in support," he said. "Of course, we should be supporting Black Lives Matter, but don't be blind to what's happening in our own community. It's just as prevalent." 

It was kind of weird that when George Floyd was killed, there was a big coalition of Latino organizations that came out in support

According to statistics compiled over the last several years by the Washington Post show that Hispanic-Americans are killed at a rate of 27 per million, compared to 15 per million for White Americans. African-Americans are killed by police at a rate of 36 per million.

In certain heavily Latino cities, the percentage is even higher. Statistics published by the Los Angeles Times in March, for example, found that 67% of people killed by Los Angeles police officers were Latino, despite making up only 49% of the city's population.

Aside from Adam Toledo, the last year has seen a number of other high-profile cases of police killings in Latino communities across the country.

In June, for example, 22-year-old Sean Monterrosa - the child of Argentine immigrants - was shot dead by police in Vallejo, California, even though he was on his knees with his hands above his waist.

Monterrosa's killing was followed by another incident two weeks later, in which Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department officers shot dead Andres Guardado, an 18-year-old Salvadoran-American. He was shot five times in the back. 

According to statistics compiled over the last several years by the Washington Post show that Hispanic-Americans are killed at a rate of 27 per million, compared to 15 per million for White Americans. African-Americans are killed by police at a rate of 36 per million.

Rodriguez - who believes the number of Latinos killed by authorities is higher than reported, as many ‘white' and ‘unknown' victims are likely Latino - he said that the killing of Adam Toledo in Chicago may be the beginning of a wider dialogue on the issue.

"Anybody that does a little bit of research is going to see these numbers," he said. "I personally think that everything has changed because of Adam Toledo. If it wasn't for him, there would be total silence."

In a recent opinion piece written for the Los Angeles Times, prominent columnist and author Gustavo Arellano said there was a number of reasons that the deaths of Latinos at the hands of police have not prompted the same national debate as that of African-Americans such as George Floyd, Trayvon Martin or Breonna Taylor.

Latino support for Trump more widespread than previously believed, data shows

"The media can't see beyond a Black-white paradigm and obsesses too much about immigration. Latinos don't have leaders who can rally thousands of people overnight the way Black leaders can," he wrote. "Latino activists stand down in the name of Black Lives Matter out of respect and wait for the day they can tell everyone about their cause, a day that never seems to come......Each argument has an element of truth."

"It's as if Latinos are waiting for our own George Floyd, even though we already have them in droves. Most of us just choose to say nothing," Arellano added. "If more Latinos can't be motivated to care, how can we expect the rest of society to care?"

Publicar un comentario
Para enviar su comentario debe confirmar que ha leido y aceptado el reglamento de terminos y condiciones de LPO
Comentarios
Los comentarios publicados son de exclusiva responsabilidad de sus autores y las consecuencias derivadas de ellas pueden ser pasibles de las sanciones legales que correspondan. Aquel usuario que incluya en sus mensajes algun comentario violatorio del reglamento de terminos y condiciones será eliminado e inhabilitado para volver a comentar.