Things That Matter

Police Fatally Shot Rueben Galindo and Now The Mother Of His Children Is Demanding Answers

Azucena Zamorano attended a community meeting last night in Charlotte, North Carolina, hosted by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, hoping to get answers about why the father of her five children, 29-year-old Rueben Galindo was shot and killed by police last month. Zamorano sat in front of Police Chief Kerr Putney and asked him straight out: “I don’t understand why he was shot.” All he said in response was “Yes, ma’am, I understand” and “I am sorry for your loss.”

Héctor Vaca

The tragic shooting, which is currently under investigation, took place on Sept. 6, and the events that unfolded prior to the fatal shooting are very confusing. According to several news outlets, Zamorano says that Galindo (her common-law partner) called 911 to tell them he was surrendering his gun. Jaqueline Guerra, a friend of the family, told the Charlotte Observer that Galindo wanted to give the police his gun because he had an upcoming court appearance and didn’t want to be deported because of it. According to Zamorano’s attorney Brian Hochman, Galindo had been in the United States 14 or 15 years.

In the 911 call, Galindo tells the 911 operator that he needs to speak with someone who speaks Spanish. It takes about a minute for the transfer to take place, and even then the call gets even more confusing because Galindo is on the phone with the operator and the translator.

In the initial 911 call, which lasted 14-minutes and has been released, Galindo sounds a bit disoriented but even more confused because of the three-way conversation between himself, the operator and the translator. He tells them he needs help but isn’t specific about what kind of help he needs. He keeps saying, “Will the police help me or not?” He also tells them that his gun does not have bullets and requests the presence of Officer Hernandez on the scene. There are also a couple of instances in which the things Galindo says are not relayed to the operator in detail.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department has released the 911 calls along with the body-cam videos. WARNING: Below is footage of the fatal shot.

CMPDVidcast / YouTube

Héctor Vaca of Action NC, an organization that helps the low-income community in Charlotte, tells mitú that the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department released the footage in a calculated way so people would conclude that Galindo was brandishing a gun.

Acompáñenos en una reunion con Chief Kerr Putney y policias de CMPD. El 10/12/17 a las 6:30 PM para una conversacion…

Posted by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department on Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Vaca says they did this by releasing a screenshot first, in which they circled the gun. Then they linked out to the video.

The actual video shows Galindo with both hands raised.

YouTube/CMPDvidcast

Galindo appears outside for less than 10 seconds before he is shot. The video clearly has the police yelling “manos, manos” to Galindo, and he indeed shows his hands. When he raises them, the police shoot.

According to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, “Officers gave multiple commands to Mr. Galindo to drop the weapon. Mr. Galindo refused to drop the gun and the officers perceived an imminent deadly threat. The officers subsequently fired their weapons striking Mr. Galindo and immediately requested Medic.”

The only verbal command that can be heard on the video is “manos.”

Is this is a case of words being lost in translation? Attorney Brian Hochman, Zamorano’s representative, tells mitú that whatever was going on with Galindo before the police arrived on the scene is a distraction because what matters is what you see in the video.

“There’s no question that the command they gave him is ‘manos,'” Hochman says. “The next command they give is ‘drop the gun’ in English.”

Hochman wonders if Galindo understood the word “drop” because he says that’s not a word you use every day. Hochman says Galindo specifically requested a Spanish speaking officer during the 911 call, and at the “most critical moment is when they spoke to him in English.”

“When you focus on the actual videotape, there’s nothing that any reasonable person [watching the video] can say that can be construed as threatening,” Hochman says. “He is standing there with the hands in the air.”

Alma Hernandez of Action NC told the Charlotte Observer that the meeting did not answer their questions. According to Hernandez, police spent too much time “hotdogging” throughout the meeting and ended before everyone’s questions were answered.

READ: OKC Police Officer Fatally Shot Magdiel Sanchez Despite Witnesses Yelling That He Was Deaf

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Years After She Was Shot By Police, Vanessa Marquez’s Wrongful Death Lawsuit Has Finally Been Settled

Things That Matter

Years After She Was Shot By Police, Vanessa Marquez’s Wrongful Death Lawsuit Has Finally Been Settled

Photo courtesy IMDb

Finally, there is a conclusion to the tragic tale of Vanessa Marquez’s death. More than two years after the “ER” actress’s fatal shooting by police officers, her mother has finally found peace.

Vanessa Marquez’s mother has finally reached a settlement in the wrongful death suit she filed against the city of South Pasadena in California.

Both Marquez’s mother, Delia McElfresh, and South Pasadena agreed to a settlement of $450,000 “in order to save the parties the costs associated with protracted litigation.” McElfresh originally sued the city for $20 million in damages as well as to cover her daughter’s funeral expenses.

The lawsuit read, in part: “Their armed presence, coupled with the attempted removal of Ms. Marquez from her home against her will, was a militaristic, menacing, and threatening response to a frail and visibly debilitated woman who was exercising her right to remain in her home. Ms. Marquez’s death was the result of overreaction, excessive use of force, and gross mishandling of the situation.”

Marquez was known for her role as nurse Wendy Goldman in the first three seasons of “ER”. Her breakout role was as student Ana Delgado in the film, “Stand and Deliver”. She also had guest spots on hit shows like “Seinfeld” and “Melrose Place”.

The story of Marquez’s death is a tragic one. Marquez was shot to death by police officers after she pointed a BB gun at them. The officers were trying to get her psychiatric care.

On Aug. 20, 2018, police officers arrived at Marquez’s house at the request of one of her friends who was worried about her. As soon as the police arrived, Marquez began to have seizures. According to the officers present, they tried to reason with her for more than 90 minutes before they told her they were placing her on a psychiatric hold. At that point, Marquez pulled out a BB gun and pointed it at the officers.

The officers left her apartment and Marquez followed them, still pointing the replica gun at them. It was at that point that the officers fired 12 rounds at Marquez. She was taken to the hospital where she was pronounced dead.

The story is yet another example of how mentally ill people are at risk of losing their lives if they come in contact with police officers at the wrong moment.

The city of South Pasadena originally cleared the officers of any wrongdoing. “In this incident, the evidence demonstrates that Carrillo and Perez actually and reasonably believed Marquez posed an imminent threat of great bodily injury or death,” the city’s District Attorney said.

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President Joe Biden Signs Executive Order To Preserve DACA

Things That Matter

President Joe Biden Signs Executive Order To Preserve DACA

January 22, 2021

The Trump administration spent years trying to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The Obama-era program was important in helping young undocumented adults who came to the country when they were children. President Joe Biden has restored it.

President Joe Biden has restored DACA to its original 2012 form.

President Biden was with President Obama when DACA was passed to protect the young adults who benefit from the program. President Biden’s executive order is giving hundreds of thousands of young adults protections and the ability to work once again.

“This memorandum, known as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) guidance, deferred the removal of certain undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children, have obeyed the law, and stayed in school or enlisted in the military,” reads the memorandum posted on the White House website. “DACA and associated regulations permit eligible individuals who pass a background check to request temporary relief from removal and to apply for temporary work permits. DACA reflects a judgment that these immigrants should not be a priority for removal based on humanitarian concerns and other considerations and that work authorization will enable them to support themselves and their families, and to contribute to our economy, while they remain.”

Original: During the 2020 election, Latinos were a massive electoral voting bloc. In fact, for the first time ever, the Latino vote outnumbered the Black vote. According to the Pew Research Center, there are now 32 million eligible Latino voters and that accounts for 13 percent of all eligible voters. 

And, Latinos helped deliver the presidency to Joe Biden. So it can be expected that the community has high expectations for Joe Biden to deliver on his campaign promises of immigration reform.

During a recent speech about his first 100 days in office, Joe Biden outlined his priorities once he’s sworn in on January 20th, and said he would “immediately” send an immigration bill to congress.

Joe Biden promises swift action on immigration reform as soon as he takes office.

Over the weekend, President-Elect Joe Biden promised he would take swift action when it comes to immigration reform and rolling back many of the cruel and dangerous policies put into place by the Trump administration.

“I will introduce an immigration bill immediately,” he said in a news conference on Friday.

Although he didn’t go into detail regarding the proposed legislation, he’s previously committed to ending Trump’s ban on immigration from predominantly Muslim nations, and that he wants a path to citizenship for Dreamers, and an increase in guest worker permits to help bring undocumented agricultural workers – many of whom are now considered “essential workers” – out of the shadows.

Biden had already promised an immigration overhaul within the first 100 days of his presidency but this commitment definitely increases the pressure on him and congress to get things done.

Biden also said his justice department will investigate the policy of child separation.

During the same press conference, Biden said that his Justice Department will determine responsibility for the family separation program, which led to more than 2,600 children being taken from caregivers after crossing the U.S. southern border, and whether it was criminal.

“There will be a thorough, thorough investigation of who is responsible, and whether or not the responsibility is criminal,” Biden said. That determination will be made by his attorney general-designate, Merrick Garland, he added.

During the campaign, Biden finally took responsibility for many of his administration’s immigration failures.

Nicknamed the “Deporter in Chief,” Obama deported more immigrants than any other president in U.S. history with over 3 million deportations during his time in office. 

But as part of that administration, Joe Biden is also complicit. That’s why during the campaign he seemed to acknowledge at least some of the pain the duo caused.

“Joe Biden understands the pain felt by every family across the U.S. that has had a loved one removed from the country, including under the Obama-Biden Administration, and he believes we must do better to uphold our laws humanely and preserve the dignity of immigrant families, refugees, and asylum-seekers,” Biden’s immigration plan reads. 

While Obama’s methods pale in comparison to the cruel tactics like family separation, inhumane conditions, and targeted raids, the impact the deportations have had on families is cannot be quantified.

Biden, like any Vice President, is put in the position of having to defend his president, but also himself as the future president. This isn’t a bad thing, Biden must distinguish himself from his predecessor but if the shadow of Obama’s legacy is buying him goodwill, it might be difficult to undermine that administration’s stances.

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