After 48 long years, local people would still remember a controversial court verdict issued against a police officer who shot a 12-year-old boy while the latter was being interrogated.
It was not clear though whether the commemoration was meant to remind police officers against using excessive force against suspects — or just for the sake of remembering what took place in this city on July 24, 1973.
Narratives about the death of Santos Rodriguez seemed so tremendous that local folks commemorating the incident would still be able to present detailed prose as to what exactly ensued 48 years ago.
As a foretold year in and year out, the 12-year-old boy Santos was said to have been murdered by Dallas police officer Darrel Cain who claimed to be bluffing one of the suspects to confess to a petty crime for which the two were arrested.
In bluffing Santos, the police officer put a gun on the 12-year old kid’s head, pulled the trigger and the rest is history — including Santos himself. It was in November 1973 when the court ruled to slap Cain with a jail term of just five years over a heinous crime of murder.
It was also inside that same courtroom that Santos’ brother, David, recounted how they were arrested by police from their Dallas home. Police officers, according to David, were forcing them to confess to an incident over a broken window of a gas station where they allegedly took $8 from a cigarette machine.
In his testimony, he said that the police officers didn’t immediately take them to the police station where suspects were supposed to be interrogated as a matter of standard operating procedure. Instead, they were made to get into a patrol car where Dallas police officer Darrell Cain pointed his revolver at Santos’ temple and pulled its trigger, instantly killing Santos, before the eyes of his brother David.
In his defence, Cain said that he was only bluffing and thought the gun was empty.
Interestingly, it was the second suspect David Rodriguez, whose testimony stood in court which heard the murder of his own brother, Santos.
The court found Cain guilty of murder with malice and slapped a cheap verdict — five years in prison. At the time the court issued the verdict, Cain had already been in jail for two and a half years and had to stay behind bars for just another two a half years, which the convicted cop did.
The incident drove Dallas into protest and has since been remembered every July 24.