Throwback Thursday: The Tragic Tale of Santos Rodriguez

July 1973. Occupied Indigenous Land known as Dallas, TX.

A 12-year-old Xicano sweats in the back of a Dallas Police Department squad car. Beads of sweat drip down his forehead mixing in with tears which fall from his eyes. “I’m telling the truth!” says the young boy as the uniformed man in the front seat empties his gun except for one bullet. The racist Dallas Police Department pig Darrell L. Cain curses him, squeezed the trigger once, a click, nothing. Once again a squeeze, a shot exploded from the gun killing Santos Rodriguez.

 

Days after the murder people took to the street, broke shop windows and burned three police motorcycles.

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What crime prompted Cain to brutally murder young Santos? The police report said that they had stolen $8 from a vending machine despite the fact that no finger prints from the scene matched either of the Rodriguez brothers. The pig Cain finally faced the justice system in a 1978 trial and was convicted of murder with malice. He served 5 years.

The 1978 conviction would be the last time that a Dallas cop would be convicted for murder. Forty years have passed since Santos has died, but we honor his memory and the memory of hundreds of Black, Brown and Poor that have been murdered by the state. Each non-conviction and softball sentencing reminds us that the criminal justice system doesn’t work to make our communities safer; it exists to terrorize our communities and destabilize our resistance.

The times have changed since Santos Rodriguez’s murder. His barrio, Little Mexico, is the rich kid playground now known as Uptown. One thing that hasn’t changed is the unjustified murder by Dallas Police and other pigs. We aim to create a world free from hierarchical and racist institutions like police, jails and prisons. Without combating this, we’re doomed to see more tragedies like that of young Santos Rodriguez.

 

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