Organizations and indigenous migrant communities of the United States sued the California Department of Justice to investigate the shooting in which Gerardo Chávez Martínez, an indigenous Zapotec from San Vicente Coatlán, Oaxaca, was killed by agents of the Salinas City Police Department.
Through a press release, the binational organization Indigenous Communities in Leadership (Cielo) stated that on July 16, the police were called to Gerardo’s house.
The non-English speaking victim, with limited knowledge of Spanish (because his mother tongue was Zapotec), did not understand the orders to leave his house and when he raised his arms, as he was carrying a toy gun in his hands, he was shot by a police officer.
Gerardo was shot three times and died at the hands of officer Mario Reyes, from the Salinas, California Police Department, “they detailed.
The letter regretted that the Oaxacan did not live to see his dreams of working to start a family and support his siblings so that they could continue to go to school, and have other opportunities besides working in the fields.
He stressed that the death of the indigenous Zapotec occurs within a broader national epidemic of police killings against Afro-American, brown, and indigenous men because they are frequently and prematurely captured by a system built to criminalize them at first sight.
The collective condemnation of migrant organizations considered that “victims of police violence are often criminalized in official narratives.”
At another point, he demanded that the California Department of Justice retake the case and investigate the shooting to determine the organizational capacity of the Salinas Police Department to interact sensitively and efficiently with the indigenous migrant population in its area.
The Binational Center for Oaxacan Indigenous Development (CBDIO), the Mixteco / Indigenous Project Community Organization (MICOP), the Cultural Movement of the Indigenous Union (MCUI), and the Indigenous Front of Binational Organizations (FIOB), have committed to remain vigilant to demand justice for the indigenous Zapotec and all victims of police violence.
Source: La Jornada