Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Mayor apologizes for 40-year old murder of 12-year old by Dallas cop

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings issued a public apology on behalf of the city for a horrific murder of a 12-year old suspect by a Dallas police officer 40 years ago. Here's a description of the terrible episode from the Dallas News editorial board:
When Santos and David Rodriguez were pulled from their grandfather’s home in the early-morning hours of July 24, 1973, by two Dallas police officers, Hispanics made up less than 10 percent of Dallas’ 850,000 residents and were concentrated in a neglected area north of downtown called Little Mexico.

The two officers drove the brothers to a vacant lot behind a Fina gas station on Cedar Springs, where a vending machine had been robbed of $8. Officer Darrell L. Cain tried to force a confession from 12-year-old Santos by playing Russian roulette with the boy. The second time he placed the gun to Santos’ head and pulled the trigger, it fired.

The 12-year-old’s grisly death and the relatively lenient treatment of his murderer (Cain was released on a $5,000 bond), galvanized the Hispanic community. It was a bellwether moment that came to symbolize Dallas Latinos’ sense of being overlooked and disregarded — and the need for empowerment.

Although there began to be changes — Cynthia Villarreal became the first Latina to join the Dallas Police Department in 1975, for instance — the lack of an official apology from the city of Dallas became further evidence of the city’s perceived indifference to its Hispanic citizens.

Today, Hispanics make up more than 40 percent of Dallas. They are the largest ethnic group in the city. And yet, during a July memorial service marking the anniversary of the murder, rather than extending a true apology, the city offered a retread resolution vowing not to let another such incident happen again.

Rawlings was on vacation at the time; he says he had been unaware the city had never apologized until he read about it in The Dallas Morning News. “This should have been done within the first weeks of when I came into office,” he said.
Granted, you'd need $4 in addition to that apology to get a latte at Starbucks; it's not worth much on its own at this late date. Still, Rawlings was right to make the gesture. This was an extreme example of why custodial interrogations by police should be recorded at the station house. If the gun hadn't gone off, who thinks anyone would have ever believed the brothers' story about Officer Cain's coercive interrogation methods? Indeed, three years prior, Cain had already been cleared of shooting a fleeing 18-year old black boy because authorities and a grand jury didn't believe witnesses who said "the suspect was shot to death as he lay wounded and pleading for his life."

As a postscript, Cain was convicted of "murder with malice" for killing David Rodriguez but the jury sentenced him only to five years, according to the Court of Criminal Appeals opinion sustaining his conviction.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

The murders still happen today and even the light sentences for them still occur. Which is why I've long hoped for a "Star Chamber" that would act in complete secrecy righting these wrongs. I'm sure it will eventually materialize but how many of us will die before it does?

william said...

an "apology" 40 years later?, texas justice at its finest

Simon Haskell said...

. Which is why I've long hoped for a "Star Chamber"

You should be happy that the NSA is fulfilling your dream.

Anonymous said...

Alert! Race baiters & the guy that keeps calling readers criminals will be out in full swing, don’t let them get to you.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm. This White guilt krap in the form of simple apologies is getting way out of hand folks. I’m hearing from damn near all 254 counties and translations are in the area of – why now? to What an insult. to 5 years and no riots? & beyond.

Despite Mayor Rawlings grandstanding after the fact. I can assure you that - We the People of Dallas (of all shades of the color wheel) do not apologize (as a hole) for the crimes committed by rogue killer cops and the subsequent conspiracies to cover up for them by cherry picked Grand Juries of yesterday.

It's not our duty & it's not the Mayor's either.

*R.I.P. victims' and may the families have closure in other forms. Bless you all.

Anonymous said...

Government entities are 100% responsible for the actions of their Public Servants: Re: this GFB Posting that includes *the Dallas Police Department, *the District Attorney's Office & *the City of Dallas. A Public Apology of this magnitude which is devoid of representatives from 'all' three offices is a shame and an insult when it ignores any wording regarding - Re-Opening the cases.

The victims' families' deserve justice for their love ones & a Wrongful Death law suit would be appropriate (Death has no statute of limitations). And if they settle 'out of court' they are not seeking justice, they are seeking money. And we the people will be forced to not give a hoot if they don't.

Anonymous said...

This is about Right & Wrong, and killing people of any racial branding is wrong and issuing apologies without Re-Opening the cases(s) is grandstanding for political gain.

Anonymous said...

*Mayor Rawlings, Please re-open the cases' in question & insist that nothing be hidden from the citizens and promise us that there will not be any back room settlements. Bribery is an insult, especially when it comes on the heels of a lame apology.

Anonymous said...

Color blind rogue cops. You can find one in every single zip code and every single decade is an apology just waiting to happen.

Cause: In 1975 around 8PM, a white cop pulled over a truck with one Mexican and two Gringos. He found a crushed tarnished but spent .22 casing in the truck’s bed. He cuffed us face down on the asphalt and put his gun to our temples’ yelling where is the gun? He shot the ground by our heads as we screamed what gun? We counted to 100 as told, looked up and he was gone. Our ears rang for weeks afterwards but the sound of his voice has lasted for decades. I’ll kill all three of you bastards if you say one word, I know where you live. That’s wrong and he knew it.

Effect: A couple years later I was asked to donate blood for a police blood drive. In H-town we had a saying – fock ‘em & feed ‘em fish heads. Laughed as they got shot and high fived when they died. That’s wrong and we knew it but didn’t give a shit because they didn’t.

Who knew that one rogue cop could cause three people to hate and distrust an entire police dept. for the rest of their lives? I can promise you that no public apology could make that night go away.

Anonymous said...

Anyone know if the cops in the article are ex-military?

Dollars to donuts they brought the gun games home with them and terrorized the citizens of that era with death threats as well.

Anonymous said...

Grits, the Editors at the DMN chose to leave out the second police officer's name as if he / she wasn't in on it.

Do you happen to have the name of Suspect #2?

*The art of leaving out the names of the other cops involved is becoming business as usual. The art of Editorials speaking for the people as a hole is a joke.

Adam said...

This officer Cain, seems to get a lot of unfair lenient punishments.