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.

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.

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

Things That Matter

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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Meet ‘Padre Cheke,’ The Mexican Priest Combining Religion And Tech On TikTok

Culture

Meet ‘Padre Cheke,’ The Mexican Priest Combining Religion And Tech On TikTok

A Mexican priest has turned to social media to meet young people where they are – on TikTok. He’s using the popular social media app to help “bring young people closer to God” and him becoming an actual influencer in the process is just a coincidence. But a very successful one at that.

Known as Padre Cheke, the priest from Puebla already has nearly one million followers on TikTok and has gained millions of likes on his videos. So just what does a Catholic priest upload to TikTok?

Padre Cheke is a massive hit on TikTok for uploading religious content.

Ezequiel Padilla is “Padre Cheke,” a Catholic priest and rector of the Chapel of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and San Cayetano in Puebla. He is also a new star of TikTok. He currently has almost 700,000 followers and 3.2 million likes on his platform.

Padre Cheke has become famous for using TikTok trends and using them to give religious messages to his followers and anyone who comes across his videos.

With the onset of the pandemic and confinement, Father Cheke decided to implement new strategies to keep people from turning away from religion. After returning to Mexico following a formation meeting in Italy, the priest became interested in this platform.  “In those days was that I downloaded the application, because I saw some stories on social networks and from there I started to make TikToks. I did not know how but little by little I was learning,” said the TikToker.

At 48 years old, the priest pointed out that when he noticed that one of his videos went viral and went from 60 followers to 10,000 followers in a very short time, he understood the power of social media.

Ezequiel feels that religion is not at odds with daily life and he uses TikTok to share that message.

Father Cheke does it all for TikTok. He dances, sings and interprets his videos with a lot of ease. He also lip synchs to dubbed videos, follows trendy choreography and viral songs, sometimes alone and sometimes with members of his congregation.

I mean who wouldn’t love a padre doing TikTok?!

Due to the great impact of social media, he has become a viral character and even has his own hashtag,#ChekeTokers, which has already been and will probably continue to trend throughout Mexico and, if he has his way, around the world.

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