Things That Matter

‘They Call Us Monsters’ Is A Documentary That Explores The Lives Of Three Teenagers Serving Time For Serious Crimes

How should we treat juveniles who commit serious crimes?

Netflix has a documentary called “They Called Us Monsters” that follows three teenagers who have been sent to a Los Angeles juvenile detention facility. The three boys have been convicted of serious charges, including attempted murder and first-degree murder. The director of the film is Ben Lear, Norman Lear’s 28-year-old son, who found out about the boys after researching for a scripted project he had in mind about the prison system. According to PEOPLE, after Lear met the teenagers, he knew that he wanted to do a documentary exploring the legitimacy and impact of giving such young people long-term sentences.

“I remember being nervous and not knowing what to expect, and being immediately put at ease when I met all of them,” Lear told PEOPLE. “They were so young and ‘teenagery’ in every way, I just felt an immediate affinity.” Lear added: “I realized I hadn’t seen these kids depicted on film before.”

With that in mind, Lear went to the juvenile detention center and got the stories of the boys and of some of their victims. You can watch the documentary on Netflix to get the full story.

You can watch a little bit about one of the teenagers’ story below.


READ: A New Documentary Tells the Story of Latinas Who Were Sterilized Without Knowing It

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Chris Pérez Discusses Selena’s Death in New E! Documentary, ‘Death of Innocence’

Entertainment

Chris Pérez Discusses Selena’s Death in New E! Documentary, ‘Death of Innocence’

via YouTube

A new documentary on Selena Quintanilla’s death appeared on E! Entertainment television on Monday night. The documentary, called “True Hollywood Story: Death of Innocence”, takes a true-crime approach to Selena Quintanilla‘s death at the hands of Yolanda Saldívar.

The “Death of Innocence” series is meant to explore the “lives and legacies” or superstars whose lives were negatively impacted by obsessed fans who were “convinced they shared an intimate bond”. The “Death of Innocence” series will also have episodes devoted to singer Christina Grimmie and actress Rebecca Schaeffer.

This isn’t the first E! True Hollywood story dedicated to the Queen of Tejano music. In 1996, the celebrity news network aired a documentary called “The Selena Murder Trial” that focused on the aftermath of Selena’s death.

In “Death of Innocence”, Pérez detailed the trauma that he experienced because of Selena’s death. “It was traumatic, it was the hardest thing up until that point that I had ever had to go through,” Pérez, who was 25 at the time of Selena’s death, explained.

He went on to describe how he still experiences grief due to the loss of his wife. “I [still] miss her face, her laughter. She was just an amazing soul, an amazing spirit,” he said.

He also revealed how his short time with Selena changed his life forever. “She taught me a lot,” he said. “I used to never tell people I love them, you know? Or I miss them, or just give them gifts just because. I learned those things and many, many other things from her.”

Chris Pérez also explained that he has bared the brunt of fans’ grief and anger over the tragic way that Selena was taken from this earth.

“I heard fans that are like, ‘How could we let that happen?'” he revealed in “Death of Innocence”. “Come on now, you think that I would let anything happen to her, like seriously? None of us thought that [losing her] was even a possibility.”

He went on to explain that Selena’s loved ones believed they had done everything they could to keep her safe. “On the road, we had security so I never really feared for her safety,” he said. “You know, especially the way it happened to her. The fact that one of her friends did that, it’s just unbelievable.”

But as Martin Gomez, Selena’s designer, explained in the documentary, “evil can creep up into your home, and you don’t know that evil is there.”

The film also touched on the excitement that Selena had about releasing her upcoming English-language album.

As “Death of Innocence” explained, while Selena was a superstar in the American Spanish-speaking community, she wasn’t a mainstream star yet. But those around her had high hopes for her.

“Doing the English record, that was always the next big goal for her,” Pérez said. And after her death, it “felt like we had to finish it.” But completing the album when Selena wasn’t there was a painful struggle for her widower.

“Them pushing play for me to record the guitar tracks and to hear her voice coming out the speakers in the studio, it was just painful to go in [the recording booth] and have to create parts and make them sound a certain way, when really inside you’re just dying,” he explained

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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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