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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Since Trump’s rise to power, the undocumented community living and working in the United States has become progressively more psychologically oppressed. Studies show that undocumented immigrants are so afraid to leave their homes for fear of ICE, they’re now avoiding routine errands like grocery shopping. The Right claims that this insidious culture of fear is simply the consequence of breaking the law. Deportation is a serious, family-altering life event that is right to be feared. Even worse is the fear of violence from ICE officers. The undocumented community is reeling after seeing those fears play out for one migrant who was shot by ICE outside a Tennessee grocery store.
On Thursday, a 39-year-old Mexican national was stopped at a traffic light. ICE agents shot two bullets at the man while he was driving his truck, claiming that act was tantamount to assault on the agents. The FBI have been called to investigate the legitimacy of the assault claim, and still don’t have adequate evident to charge the man with a crime.
It all started outside a grocery store.
Local media outlets obtained footage of the incident, which occurred in Antioch, Tennessee on Thursday morning. The video depicts a seemingly normal traffic stop. The migrant was driving a white box truck, circled in red. Beside the truck is an undercover black sedan with blinking police lights.
Federal officials are describing the moment the migrant drove off as “assault” on the agents.
Bryan Cox, a spokesperson for ICE, told Buzzfeed News that the migrant was pulled over for “immigration law violations.” Cox claims that the man tried to “flee the scene” and “drove toward an agent who then fired two bullets at him.” Now that the video footage is out, concerned citizens are arriving at their own conclusions. “He drove off and not at police. No agent should fire his service arm unless his life is in danger,” tweeted @SheldonAYS.
Another Tennessee resident commented, “Not much assault here, except by the guy with the gun. We really need a president who doesn’t want to turn the U.S.A. into a police state.” Meanwhile, the other side is tweeting, “I am glad the agent is safe. I hope they find this criminal soon and throw him over the wall.”
Footage shows the ICE agents pointing their guns as the man drives off.
The man was hospitalized and treated for two bullet wounds, and left a Nashville hospital the following morning. At the hospital, FBI arrived on the scene to determine whether the man assaulted the ICE agents, which might warrant the use of excessive force by ICE. The undocumented immigrant then surrendered himself to the FBI, now a victim of America’s famed police brutality. His lawyer, Andrew Free, told Buzzfeed News, “The FBI informed me that if there had been sufficient evidence to charge him when he surrendered he would’ve been arrested.”
ICE said that no matter if its agents are prosecuted, the man will still be deported on any given day.
According to Cox, the Mexican national has been deported four times and has a criminal record which includes a conviction of domestic assault. Meanwhile, the FBI is holding the man’s blood-splattered truck in custody until the investigation is over.
In response, the immigrant community is putting on “Know Your Rights” workshops for Nashville residents.
“If we educate our community and we educate the agents on how to approach this situation, instances like today will not be happening; we can avoid bad news with both agents and our community; and right now, our community is living in fear,” immigrant rights activist American Leon told News Channel 5 Nashville. His goal is to ensure that all immigrant families have an emergency plan in place if they get arrested by ICE. That plan must include arrangements for their children in the event they can never return home.
Nashville’s Mayor has all but named Trump to blame for the incident.
“The federal government’s inability to arrive at comprehensive immigration reform results in situations like what happened in Antioch this morning,” Democratic Nashville Mayor David Briley said in a statement. “This is exactly what we don’t want happening in our city.”
Just two days prior, Mayor Briley signed an executive order calling on Tennessee’s General Assembly to repeal a state house bill that bans state and local lawmakers from passing sanctuary city policies. If the bill is repealed, we can expect mayors around Tennessee to declare their cities as “sanctuaries” from ICE.
Latinos from all over town in are stopping by a family-owned carniceria in Chicago’s historically Mexican neighborhood, Pilsen, and it’s for more than just tacos. A new series of murals, all featuring Tejana musical icon Selena have been erected as a joint collaboration by three Latinx who wanted to beautify and drive business to the area and have since called the street La Calle Selena.
“In Latin America, you have streets and paseos dedicated to people whether it was culturally or historically,” said organizer of La Calle and creative strategist, Mateo Zapata. “I wanted to bring that tradition and practice as well.
Onlookers of all ages are stopping by to take photos with the freshly-painted murals.
Quinceañeras, families and friends have stopped by the wall for their own picture with the singer-songwriter, lauding the art on social media with the natural geotag for Carnicera Maribel and the natural hashtag, #LaCalleSelena.
The art on the carniceria features Selena in her memorable Amor Prohibido cover outfit, sparkly purple jumpsuit and in her Grammy dress.
The paintings were all spray painted on brick.
Asend One, the artist, doesn’t typically work on pop culture icons, but when creative strategist Mateo Zapata approached him with the idea, he was all for it.
“What I wanted to bring with this mural is bring quality — not just a simple rendering of her,” said Asend, adding that he wanted spectators to “taste some Chicago Mexican food. Art is part of the culture and food is art too.”
Zapata used money from the nonprofit he founded, Inner City Culture, to commission the art in May and so began the process to complete five Selena murals across the street.
The mural was completed this August after about three months of work.
These Selena murals have attracted fans and created an influx of foot traffic and business for Carniceria Maribel.
Alejandro Banda, who is the incoming owner of the establishment and collaborated with Zapata on the inception of the project has noticed the increase of activity in this area since the mural was completed. His family business has been a part of the Pilsen community since the 1990s when his grandfather first opened the shop. The taqueria was a recent addition from just a few years back which Banda, who is in his mid-20s, has been managing.
“I grew up around the store,” Banda said. “It’s been the biggest part of my life and identity. You really get to get the sense of community at the store. Everyone comes around.
“At the heart of it, Carniceria Maribel really does know its meat and tacos. A taco al pastor y de asada and limonada you can get from the back is eaten at the no frills taqueria by the windows. (Photo Credit: Lyanne Alfaro)
Inside, you can purchase anything from your margarita mix to agua fresca to mouthwatering tacos al pastor.
Of course, the business would not be complete without a signature carniceria calendar hung on the wall as is typical to give to customers during the holiday season.
And while Carniceria Maribel may be receiving a healthy amount of business as of late, that is not the case for other small businesses in the area.
“We’ve been very fortunate,” Banda said. “But it’s still very disheartening to see a lot of friends and families I’ve known, move out of the neighborhood.”
The cost of living has risen in Pilsen, and the numbers for demographics show it. In the 1960s and 70s, Mexicans arrived in Pilsen in mass numbers. But in a decade alone from 2000 to 2010, the neighborhood lost more than 25 percent of its Latinx population, from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
There are also physical signs of Pilsen’s transformation like when a developer removed iconic cultural murals from the neighborhood’s historic Hispanic community center. Casa Aztlan was torn down to make room for new condos as reported by CityLab. Just last year, community members helped shut down a $52 tour spotlighting gentrification.
Zapata’s commissioned project is more than an art piece for the neighborhood, it’s a strategic way to combat gentrification, he says.
“Supporting your local business is a realistic (response to gentrification),” he said. “If people go to these corner stores instead of gentrified businesses, they will stay. I do think it could be an effective strategy to avoid displacement from our community.”
Meanwhile, Banda sees La Calle Selena as a way that Carniceria Maribel, an established family business is “adapting.”
He considers this crucial for small businesses to survive in addition to support from the local community.
“It gives us an opportunity to re-identify ourselves. It gives us an opportunity to change things up and make things better as a business,” he said.
Banda noted that having immigrants from Colombia and Venezuela as well as a Mexican family business participating in the project adds to the value of the project.
“The fulfillment I get from it has exceeded anything I could have imagined,” said Banda, “A project done by three Latinos of all different backgrounds.”
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