Things That Matter

A Pastor And His Family Were Arrested Outside Of Their Church In Georgia And The Video Has Gone Viral

On March 26, a family was arrested in front of their place of worship in the outskirts of Atlanta. The video of the arrest has gone viral on Facebook because it appears to show excessive force by the police officers. But the story about what led up to this arrest is a lot more complicated than what the four-minute video shows.

The video, which has more than a million views, shows a white officer confronting a Latino family.

Estos Pastores fueron arrestados hoy ,estoy sin palabras ???? Atlanta Georgia 3-26-18 Jose A Farmerio Jose Castillo Martin Rosario Evangelista Carlos Lopez Serrano Anibal C. Baerga

Posted by Constantino Espinoza on Monday, March 26, 2018

The viral video has even been shared by former judge Jeanine Pirro — a Fox News legal correspondent. She captioned the video by saying: “Not complying with Police. Assaulting Police Officers. Stealing Police property (radio and tasers) Yep, you’re all going to jail.”

From some sympathetic commenters on social media, the uproar seems to be that the officer used excessive force on a teenage boy and an older woman. The officer is seen using tasers and pepper spray on the suspects, but the video does not show why the officers are there, or what led up to the arrest.

Police arrested Pastor Wilmer R. Cruz, his wife Cristina Cruz and their two teenage sons.

CREDIT: Facebook/constantino.espinoza

The arrest occurred at Inglesia Cristiana Evangelica Church in Lilburn, just outside Atlanta.

In an interview with mitu, Chief Bruce Hedley said that Lilburn Police were called to the scene after the mother of a teenage female runaway reported her missing. She said that her daughter was with 17-year-old Wilmer Cruz.

Chief Hedley says that the two young people are in fact dating and that the female was staying with the family. He also added that the mother of Wilmer, Cristina, had a restraining order against her and that she was in violation of that restraining order. The police department did not specify who filed the order. He didn’t, however, specify who had initiated the restraining order. 

Authorities released the body cam of the officer, which shows the family did not want to allow the female teen to speak to the officer.

Bueno mi gente aquí está la otra parte de la historia hay que aprender que nadie está por encima de la ley que Dios nos…

Posted by Constantino Espinoza on Monday, March 26, 2018

The video also shows Wilmer interaction with the officer and the family begins to crowd the officer in order to prevent him from taking the teenage female that was in the car at the time.

“Officers repeatedly instructed people to stand back and continued to attempt to speak to the missing juvenile in the parked car,” Lilburn Police Department said in a statement. “Several people did not comply and in turn challenged and assaulted the officers. During the altercation, officers were kicked, choked, and attempts were made to take officer’s equipment. Eventually officers were able to contain the situation using crowd control training tactics and kept the situation from escalating further.”

Chief Hedley also says that the officer was initially outnumbered and that he showed “extreme levels of constraint.”

In another video provided by police, Cristina tells an officer than the her back was hurt during the arrest.

CREDIT: Lilburn Police Department

The body cam shows the officer speaking to Cristina in Spanish and then goes over to the officer in question to tell him about the complaint from Cristina but the sound is then muted.

The family is currently in custody awaiting trail at Gwinnett County Jail. The teenage female has since been reunited with her family.


READ: Police Officer Under Investigation After Body Slamming 12-Year-Old Girl To The Ground

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Pope Francis Comes Out In Support Of Civil Unions For Same-Sex Couples

Culture

Pope Francis Comes Out In Support Of Civil Unions For Same-Sex Couples

Franco Origlia / Getty Images

In a historic move, Pope Francis comes out in favor of same-sex civil unions. The announcement is being heard by Catholics around the world. The Catholic church has been notorious for its anti-LGBTQ+ views and Pope Francis continues to push the Catholic church into the 21st century more and more.

Pope Francis called on the passage of civil union laws for same-sex couples in a documentary.

“Homosexuals have a right to be a part of the family. They’re children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out, or be made miserable because of it,” Pope Francis said in the film.

The pope’s declaration is a clear departure from the Vatican’s long held anti-LGBTQ+ beliefs. The Catholic church has long demonized and ostracized LGBTQ+ people because of who they are and Pope Francis has done a lot of work to change that rhetoric from within.

Pope Francis has advocated for rights for several marginalized groups during his time as pope.

Pope Francis became the first pope from Latin America when he was chosen in March 2013. In the past seven years, Pope Francis has called for compassion for migrants fleeing violence in their countries, advanced LGBTQ+ acceptance in the Catholic faith, among other things.

“What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered,” the pope said in the documentary “Francesco,” which debuted at the Rome Film Festival. “I stood up for that.”

The importance of the statement is not what he said but who he is to say it.

Popes before Pope Francis have long upheld the archaic views against the LGBTQ+ community. Pope Francis is the first pope to speak directly to the Catholic people in favor of humanizing and protecting LGBTQ+ people and their dignity. The pope has called on the church and Catholics to welcome LGBTQ+ people and took the stance that homosexuality is not an illness. Pope Francis’ papacy is a welcomed change for LGBTQ+ rights activists.

Catholic politicians are praising the pope for modernizing the church bit by bit.

The declaration is not only historical, it is moving Catholics closer to accepting and embracing LGBTQ+ people in society. The pope holds a lot of power in moving the Catholic church and its followers. With declarations like this, the pope is pushing the church to reckon with its own teachings and take steps into the 21st century.

Some are wondering what this will mean for devout Catholics in government, like potential Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett.

Coney Barrett has been tied to vehemently anti-LGBTQ+ hate groups. While she claims that she doesn’t know that the organizations hold these views, as a devout Catholics the word of the pope holds weight. Many are curious to see if the pope’s words break through and resonate with the judge.

You can watch the trailer for the documentary below.

READ: Pope Francis Condemns Capitalism and Populism in New Official Church Document

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A Chilean Police Officer Is Charged With Attempted Murder After Throwing a Protestor Off Of a Bridge

Things That Matter

A Chilean Police Officer Is Charged With Attempted Murder After Throwing a Protestor Off Of a Bridge

Photo by Marcelo Hernandez/Getty Images

Earlier this month, a police officer in Santiago, Chile was captured on video pushing a 16-year-old male demonstrator off of a bridge. The boy fell into the canal below, fracturing his wrist and suffering head trauma. He was transported to the hospital and is in stable condition.

The violent video sparked an additional wave of protests against the Carabineros–Chile’s militarized national police force that the officer was a part of.

Before the video surfaced, witnesses who were protesting voiced their anger at the police officer’s actions and demanded that he be brought to justice. Initially, a spokesperson for the Carabineros, General Enrique Monrás, denied any wrongdoing on the part of the officer, claiming that the boy “lost balance and fell”.

Monrás claimed the police force even had footage that refuted the purported events. But when the footage of the boy being pushed over the bridge went public, there was no question as to what happened.

The footage of the incident went viral in Chile, prompting a surge of demonstrations and protests in Santiago–a city already racked with civil unrest.

CLAUDIO REYES/AFP via Getty Images)

Days later, Chile opened up an investigation against the police officer, saying the officer “gave false information to the Prosecutor’s Office” and had “abandoned the victim” after throwing him off the bridge. The officer’s lawyer says he was following procedure. Nevertheless, by then the damage had been done.

Following the incident, protestors threw red die into the canal, making it look like it was running red with the metaphorical blood of protestors. The protests are part of an ongoing civil unrest that was sparked by economic inequality in Chile as well as President Sebastián Piñera’s failure to address the people’s concerns.

To make matters worse, the Piñera government has responded to the protests with excessive violence.

In the last year, Chile has been making headlines for permanently blinding protestors with rubber bullets. Protestors claim that Caballeros are deliberately shooting people in the eyes, aiming to blind them for life.

This most recent incident has simply served to bolster the protestors’ claims that they are being treated brutally by the Chilean government. “The police are violent. We can’t bear it anymore,” said a protestor named Carmen Soria to Al Jazeera News. “They’ve raped, tortured, run people over, blinded others, and now, they’re throwing people in the Mapocho river. The government doesn’t want us to protest, doesn’t want us to gather together, but they don’t care that we gather in the busses and in subways like sardines to go to work.”

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