Hello to everyone reading, my name is Emily Rangel, and I’m a student at CSUMB. I intern at Nonprofit Connection Santa Cruz County as part of my field training for my Collaborative Health and Human Services major. I write weekly blogs, normally covering nonprofit news, events, or related topics.
This week, I chose to write about something that might bring up more emotion. I grew up in Santa Clara county and Almaden county is right next door. On April 19th, Mario Gonzalez was killed by officers who responded to a call in Almaden county. Officers used force and pinned Mario to the ground for 5 minutes, Mario became unresponsive, and reports state he died later that day at the hospital.
Will Wright of the NYT writes in his article “California Man Dies After Officers Pin Him to Ground for 5 Minutes,” “Mr. Gonzalez died on April 19, one day before Derek Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer, was convicted of murdering George Floyd by restraining him for nine minutes and 29 seconds, holding him to the pavement with his knee long after Mr. Floyd had become unresponsive”; Here we are a year after the murder of George Floyd, rallies of Black Lives Matter, protests and the people asking for police reform, yet police officers have taken more innocent lives. Mario Gonzalez is one of them; the call that brought officers to the scene even states that Mr. Gonzalez did not pose a threat, the call states, “He seems like he’s tweaking, but he’s not doing anything wrong.”
The New York Times article shares that during the Trial of Derek Chauvin, experts have testified that a better practice would be to roll those being detained onto their side; the face-down position is dangerous and could impair breathing. With this information being known, why do police officers continue to practice unsafe forms of detention? The New York times article clarifies the video footage released of Mario Gonzalez’s death and the police officer’s actions. Read more here.
I have yet to make sense of why we as a nation have yet to implement reforms to retrain and teach nondetrimental practices to the officers who have sworn to protect and serve. I have yet to understand why the officers who killed Breana Taylor still walk free; Why are the officers who pinned down Mario and killed him on PAID leave; Why did it take to protest, rallies, and 2 trials convict Derek Chauvin? These events and many others only further reveal the need and cry for change in law enforcement training and protocols. I ask that those reading take the time to familiarize themselves with these cases and many more like them. Once one begins to research one case, more and more are revealed; if that does not stir up one’s emotions and anger or upset them, they fail to see a broken system.