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Family Of Unarmed Man Who Was Killed By Off-Duty Police Officer Says They Had A History


Chicago is reeling after José Nieves, an unarmed man, was shot and killed by an off-duty police officer in the city’s Hermosa neighborhood last week. Police officials have confirmed that Nieves was unarmed when a 57-year-old mass transit officer fatally shot him. Police have not released the name of the officer who shot Nieves, but have placed him on desk duty.

“The person who was shot did not have a weapon. That much we know. The officer’s weapon is the only one we found,” police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi told the press during a news conference.

Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson told reporters, “I have a lot more questions than I have answers at this time.”

It was not the first time the officer and Nieves had interacted.


Chicago police, who confirmed that Nieves and the officer in question had a previous disagreement, say they are trying to construct a timeline of events leading up to the shooting. The incident remains under investigation.

Angelica Nieves, the victim’s sister, says her brother was previously harassed and threatened by the armed officer.

“He would complain about the guy pulling out his gun at him, him coming home from work. More than once, he’s called 911. They’ve gone to the apartment. They’ve gone there. They don’t do nothing about it. He’s an officer,” Angelica told CBS Chicago.


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After Being Kneeled On By Police, People Are Comparing This Latino Man’s Death to George Floyd

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After Being Kneeled On By Police, People Are Comparing This Latino Man’s Death to George Floyd

Photo via GoFundMe

Mario Gonzalez’s family is asking for answers after the 26-year-old Latino man died after a “scuffle” with the police. Because of the circumstances surrounding Gonzalez’s death, people are comparing his death to George Floyd’s.

Three Bay Area police officers kneeled on Gonzalez’s back and shoulders for five minutes before he became unresponsive and died. In a statement, the police said his death was caused by a “medical emergency.”

“Officers attempted to detain [Mario Gonzalez], and a physical altercation ensued,” the statement read. “At that time, the man had a medical emergency. Officers immediately began lifesaving measures and requested the Alameda Fire Department to the scene. The Alameda Fire Department transported the male to a local area hospital, where he later died.”

Mario Gonzalez was wandering around in a park, appearing disoriented and mumbling to himself when some bystanders called the police. “He seems like he’s tweaking, but he’s not doing anything wrong,” said the 911 caller. “He’s just scaring my wife.”

Gonzalez was unable to answer basic questions when police arrived at the scene. The interaction quickly escalated physically, with multiple officers wrestling him to the ground.

The Alameda Police Department released body cam footage that showed the entire interaction. “I’ve got to identify you, so I know who I’m talking to [and] make sure you don’t have any warrants or anything like that,” says one of the cops. “You come up with a plan, let me know you’re not going to be drinking in our parks over here, and then we can be on our merry way.”  

But Gonzalez could not–or would not–respond, at which point the cops attempted to handcuff him and wrestle him to the ground. Gonzalez resisted arrest, asking the police officers to stop while repeatedly and profusely apologizing. “I’m sorry,” Gonzalez says at one point, to which an officer responds: “It’s OK, alright? I forgive you.” Minutes later, he was dead.

“Everything we saw in that video was unnecessary and unprofessional,” said Mario’s brother, Gerardo Gonzalez, in a news conference. “The police killed my brother in the same manner that they killed George Floyd.”

“His death was completely avoidable and unnecessary,” said the Gonzalez’s attorney, Julia Sherwin, to The New York Times. “Drunk guy in a park doesn’t equal a capital sentence.” The three police officers involved in Gonzalez’s death are now on paid leave, according to AP News.

Police originally told the Gonzalez family that Mario died due to a “medical emergency” while in the custody of police. But after his family saw the video of his death, they realized the police had been stretching the truth. Mario Gonzalez was the father of a 4-year-old boy as well as the sole caretaker of his 23-year-old autistic brother.

The family has since set up a GoFundMe page to raise money to provide care and living expenses to Mario’s brother and son.

“Mario was not a violent person. Mario was kind. He helped my mom take care of our brother. He wouldn’t hurt anyone. Our family needs answers,” reads the campaign.

To many, Mario Gonzalez’s death further illustrates their belief that police officers should not be the ones responding to calls about people struggling with mental health or addiction crises.

“What happened to Mario Gonzalez should be a wake-up call to the city of Alameda,” said former Superior Court Judge LaDoris Cordell to KPIX 5 News. “You can’t have officers responding to people who are not aggressive, not threatening who are going through a mental health crisis.”

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This Chicago Man Used His Wrongful Conviction Settlement Money to Open a Barber College With His Former Prison Guard

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This Chicago Man Used His Wrongful Conviction Settlement Money to Open a Barber College With His Former Prison Guard

Screenshot via YouTube

Some people are dealt a tough hand in life and, for whatever reason, aren’t able to cope with it. They might spiral into bad lifestyles choices or other unhelpful coping mechanisms. However, other people are able to rise above adversity. Like Juan Rivera, a man who spent 20 years behind bars for a crime he didn’t commit.

After he was wrongly convicted of murder, 48-year-old Juan Rivera used his settlement money to open up a barber college with his former prison guard.

Juan Rivera went to jail for the rape and murder of 11-year-old Holly Staker in 1992. Chicago police used unlawful psychological mind games over the course of a four-day interrogation to coerce Rivera to admitting to the crime. The Chicago police also destroyed DNA evidence and lied to the prosecution team. Juan Rivera spent 20 years in Stateville Correctional Center.

While he was in prison, Juan Rivera became friends with prison guard and barbershop coordinator, Bobby Mattison. Mattison knew that some prisoners just needed the right opportunities to make better life choices. After a lot of hard work, Mattison opened up the first licensed barber college in a maximum security prison. Rivera was one of his students.

“We lock them up well, but what do we do to help them get back on their feet?” Mattison told Block Club Chicago. “I see these guys coming in and out. I knew I wanted to do something to help them.

It was through Mattison that Rivera began to change his attitude and outlook on life. When Rivera left prison, the city of Chicago awarded him $20 million in a wrongful conviction suit. Rivera knew exactly what he was going to do with the settlement money: give back to his community.

Together, Rivera and Mattison founded Legacy Barber College. Legacy Barber College recruits students from inner-city Chicago who are in danger of getting caught up in a life of crime. The barber college partners with high schools, community colleges, and career day fairs to show kids that “they can find a good career even if college isn’t an option.”

“This started, believe it or not, in prison,” Juan Rivera said. “I saw a need. We want to help the less fortunate. Because once they get out, they usually have nothing to fall back on.”

Legacy Barber College’s 32 current enrollees are also college or high school students. At the school, students can earn their barber’s license, but they also learn “financial literacy, customer service and running a business.”

But Legacy Barber College’s services aren’t limited to teaching. They also, naturally, give haircuts. “We want the community to know it’s theirs, not mine,” Juan Rivera said. “We want people to feel welcome and comfortable taking their kids and family here.”

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