Experts Explain Why Latino Deaths At The Hands Of Police Fail To Garner Public Attention

From the July 11 edition of Univision's Noticiero Univision:

Video file

Translated transcript:

MARIA ELENA SALINAS (HOST):  Indignation over the recent deaths of two African-Americans by the police's hands have fueled a number of protests in condemnation. However, the same hasn't been true with the cases of five Latinos who also died at the hands of police officers. Our correspondent Jaime García went to find out which could be the causes for this indifference.

JAIME GARCÍA (CORRESPONDENT): Five Hispanic people who died in the last 10 days from shots or electrical shocks from police officers have become truly forgotten by public opinion. This has not provoked the protests and shows of discontent that the controversial deaths of two African-Americans, also victims of police shootings, have garnered.    

LUIS CARRILLO (ATTORNEY): We have a tradition of not being vociferous against authority.

GARCÍA: However, in the last 14 years in Los Angeles county, 51 percent of victims in fatal incidents with police have had Hispanic heritage. In very few occasions this has resulted in massive protests. 

CARRILLO: If Latino politicians came forward to denounce abuses of authority, this could be motivation for more members of the Latino community to join together and denounce them.

GARCÍA: Everything indicates that in the last decade, massive mobilizations of Hispanics have been focused on a different purpose.  

PEDRO ALVARADO (EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, National Day Laborer Organizing Network): The focus has been on trying to pass immigration reform, and bring down the numbers of people who are deported.

GARCÍA: Since July 3, almost unnoticed by national public opinion, the deaths by the hands of police of Raúl Saavedra Vargas in Reno, NV, Pedro Erick Villanueva in Fulerton, CA, Melissa Ventura in Yuma, AZ, and Antonio Nuñez in San Jose, CA, as well as Fermin Valenzuela, who seemingly died from electric shock after being tasered by police in Anaheim, CA. Fear of deportation is pointed to as one of the main reasons members of the Hispanic community refrain from actively participating in denouncing police abuse.   

ALVARADO: 70 percent of undocumented immigrants say they won't report a crime, whether they are victims of witnesses of it.  

GARCÍA: And even with apparent evidence of police abuse on video, Hispanics have made their discontent known in very few instances, in comparison to African-Americans.    

CARRILLO: Even having videos, the fear of being deported remains. 

GARCÍA: In Los Angeles, Jaime García, Univision.


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