Things That Matter

The Murder of a Teen Mom By Her Boyfriend is Raising a Discussion Around the Prevalence of Femicide in Abusive Relationships

On Thursday, 27-year-old Junior Fayiah Carlos was sentenced to life in prison over the violent murder of his 19-year-old girlfriend, Christine D’Cruz. According to reports, Carlos murdered D’Cruz on December 30, 2017 in her apartment in Mandurah, Perth, Australia. Carlos killed D’cruz in a fit of rage after they had been arguing about the paternity of their child, who was just weeks old. Carlos claimed that he killed D’Cruz in self-defense after she had gotten ahold of a kitchen knife and threatened him. However, prosecutors noted that he was “delusional” due to the dangerous cocktail of drugs and alcohol he was on at the time. 

According to reports, Carlos was high on marijuana, methamphetamines, and sleeping pills when he stabbed her 35 times, partially decapitating her. 

After he killed D’Cruz, Carlos apparently covered her with a blanket, left her in the bathroom, and fell asleep. 15 hours later, he called a friend and allegedly admitted: “she’s dead”. According to authorities, Carlos and D’Cruz had had a turbulent relationship during the two years they were together. Two weeks before D’Cruz was murdered, she had even filed a restraining order against Carlos, but continued to see him. D’Cruz’s family claims that D’Cruz had long been abusing her, citing unexplained bruises and other injuries she suffered before his death. According to records, Carlos had also been previously convicted for attacking a former partner of his. 

The death of 19-year-old Christine D’Cruz is making international headlines because it shines a spotlight on the fatal violence that women universally experience at the hands of men. 

Femicide–what the Oxford dictionary defines as “the killing of a woman or girl, in particular by a man and on account of her gender”–has been at the top of people’s minds in recent days. On November 3rd, women took to the streets of Mexico to march in honor of Dia de Muertas–The Day of Dead Women. The march was a tribute to the thousands of women who have died due to domestic violence in Mexico–nine every day. The activists staged the march to be right after Mexico’s famous Dia de Muertos in order to bring awareness to the public health crisis that plagues Mexico and, indeed, countries across the world.

According to the World Health Organization, femicide is usually “committed by partners or ex-partners, and involves ongoing abuse in the home, threats or intimidation, sexual violence or situations where women have less power or fewer resources than their partner”. The same study revealed that while only 5% of all murders of men are committed by an intimate partner, 35% of all murders of women globally are reported to be committed by an intimate partner. 

It’s also notable that although D’Cruz had seemingly taken steps towards ending the relationship (i.e. taking out a restraining order against Carlos), she still kept seeing him in private.

 As domestic violence activist Beverly Gooden revealed before in her viral Twitter hashtag campaign #WhyIStayed, there are a myriad of reasons why women stay in abusive relationships. “It’s not easy to leave when you remember how it used to be, or when they romance you during the good times,” Gordon stated on her website. “Or when they promise it is the last time. Because you believe in love and you believe in them”. 

Emotional reasons aren’t the only reasons women stay in abusive relationships. They also do out of fear for their lives. According to the 2018 Femicide Census, “55% of the women killed by their ex-partner or ex-spouse in 2017 were killed within the first month of separation and 87% in the first year”. For women, sometimes staying seems like the safer option. 

Since Carlos’s sentencing, D’Cruz’s family is now teaming up with domestic violence groups to seek an inquest into the way the authorities handled the murder of their daughter.

Although Carlos is headed to jail, the family is still suffering from what they feel was a mishandling of their daughter’s murder case.  Although Carlos was sentenced to life in prison, he will be eligible for parole in just 19 years. Although we can’t read the minds of the parents of Christine D’Cruz, we can’t help but wonder if they consider the possibility of such a brief sentence as justice for the lost life of their daughter. 

According to the family’s impact statements at the time of the trial, D’Cruz’s family is devastated and plagued by grief at the death of their beloved daughter. They expressed sorrow that their granddaughter would now grow up without a mother. They revealed that D’Cruz had dreams of working in childcare. The judge in the case revealed that D’Cruz’s father still “looked around for his daughter even though he knew she was dead”.

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The Cop Who Killed Daunte Wright Says She Meant To Tase Him Instead Of Firing Her Gun

Things That Matter

The Cop Who Killed Daunte Wright Says She Meant To Tase Him Instead Of Firing Her Gun

Another Black man is dead, killed by the police.

Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man from Minnesota was murdered on Sunday after a police officer pulled him over for a traffic violation. In an attempt to take in Wright after realizing he had an outstanding warrant for his arrest, it is being said that the officer meant to use her Taser but accidentally fired her gun.

Police in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota are saying that Wright’s attempt to reenter his car prompted the police fire.

Body camera footage of the Sunday incident was released for the first time on Monday during a news conference. Footage of the killing shows Wright outside of his car when authorities were attempting to place him under arrest. At one point, in the footage he can be seen attempting to reenter his vehicle, prompting a struggle with officers.

“I’ll tase ya,” a woman officer told Wright in the video after he attempted to kick her. “Taser, Taser, Taser!” the officer is heard yelling in the video before saying “Oh shit! I just shot him.”

According to Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon, the officer meant to reach for her Taser.

Instead, she grabbed her gun.

“This appears to me, from what I viewed and the officer’s reaction and distress immediately after, that this was an accidental discharge that resulted in the tragic death of Mr. Wright,” Gannon claimed.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension has identified the officer in the incident as Kim Potter, a 26-year veteran of the police department. Potter is now on administrative leave.

Speaking about her standing, Gannon said “I think we can watch the video and ascertain whether she will be returning.”

Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott publicly supported Potter’s termination.

“My position is that we cannot afford to make mistakes that lead to the loss of life of other people in our profession, so I do fully support releasing the officer of her duties,” he explained before revealing that the officers initiated the traffic stop after clocking an expired registration tag on the car’s vehicle. When they ran Wright’s name they learned that he had a warrant out for his arrest. “That’s why they were moving from the car and they were making custodial arrest.”

Gannon went onto explain that the only information he had about the arrest warrant was that it was attached to a “gross misdemeanor warrant.”

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Street Vendor By The Name Of Lorenzo Pérez Murdered Execution Style — “The person who killed my dad took away a part of me”

Things That Matter

Street Vendor By The Name Of Lorenzo Pérez Murdered Execution Style — “The person who killed my dad took away a part of me”

Like many street vendors, 45-year-old Lorenzo Pérez sold food to support his family.

Married and the father of four children ages 15, 13, 9, and 1, Perez is described by friends and family as being well known amongst neighborhood residents. He was often seen working alongside his daughter who helped him on occasion. Now, the community and family who knew Perez well are in mourning, after he was shot in broad daylight while doing his job.

Perez died after he being shot in the head in southeast Fresno on Sunday afternoon.

Fresno Police were called to the scene of a possible robbery at Alta and Pierce Avenues, near Kings Canyon and Willow around 4:30 p.m. on Sunday. On the way to the scene, the police officers learned that a street vendor had been shot once in the head.

According to reports, Perez was rushed to Community Regional Medical Center where he ultimately died.

Witnesses of the murder told officers that a man had beckoned Perez to come over to him in a way that suggested he was going to purchase something from him.

According to police reports, when Perez walked up to the suspect, the man pulled out a gun and shot the vendor. He then stole a few items, which have not been identified, and flew the scene. Witnesses told police officers that they’d seen the man loitering around the area before the shooting.

A local news station reported that “Officers are now looking into surveillance footage from the area to try and identify the shooter… Through a statement, Fresno City Council President Luis Chavez announced that he will be offering a $5000 reward for information leading to the shooter’s arrest.”

“The coward that murdered our food vendor, turn yourself in and face the consequences. You’ve brought tremendous pain to a family and our city,” Chavez exclaimed in the statement.

To help the Perez family, Councilmember Esmeralda Soria set up a GoFundMe account which has already raised $141,780 out of its $125,000 goal.

Perez’s son, Isai, described his father in a recent interview as a “great man.”

“My father was a great man. He was a great father, a great husband, a great friend,” he said in an interview. “He spread love and kindness. He was about fairness, he wanted to share his happiness. He meant no harm. He didn’t deserve to go like this. The person who killed my dad took away a part of me. My dad went through everything for us. He took away my father. He took away the opportunity of me being with him in his last moments and it’s heartbreaking. I hope they find the murderer soon.”

If you have any information on the shooting please call Valley Crime Stoppers at (559) 498-STOP.

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