Dallas, Texas – The 12-year-old Santos Rodriguez that was killed by Dallas police officer nearly 50 years ago finally got his statue unveiled on Saturday.
The statue is located at Pike Park in Downtown Dallas and hundreds of people gathered on Saturday to celebrate the statue unveiling placing flowers and honoring the victim’s mother, Bessie Rodriguez.
Nancy Vasquez, who was 14 years old at the time of Rodriguez’s death, recalls seeing the boy’s body.
“And I told my mom they’re having his viewing at Cortes Funeral Home here on Harwood, where now all the big buildings are,” she recalled. “Then I knew it was for real. I knew it wasn’t a dream, it wasn’t a nightmare.”
Vasquez says she took part in many protests in the streets of Dallas.
“The murder of Santos Rodriguez was a shame on our city,” Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson said.
According to the police incident report from July 24, 1973, the victim and his brother were initially arrested on a suspicion of stealing $8 from a vending machine. They were both handcuffed and placed at the back of a patrol car.
Unfortunately, the boy didn’t even get the chance to prove he and his brother were innocent and they did nothing to be arrested.
While at the back of the patrol car, the officer Darrell Cain who arrested the boys held a revolver to the boy’s head and pulled the trigger on an empty chamber in an effort to make him confess everything. He then pulled the trigger for a second time, this time with a live round, and he fatally shot the innocent boy to the head.
The officer later said everything happened because of a mistake claiming he thought his gun was empty. However, he was charged and found guilty spending two and a half years in prison of a five-year prison sentence for murder.
“The shame comes from the unbearable pain and suffering caused by someone who many years ago was wearing my uniform,” said Albert R. Ramirez, with the Dallas Police Department.
Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia issued a public apology to the Rodriguez family last year.
A few hundred people gathering to unveil the statue at Pike Park Saturday, at the place where Rodriguez used to play.
The statue will remain in the park forever remembering the innocent boy who died because of a police officer stupidity!