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Indybay Feature
Tue Jul 27 2021 (Updated 07/29/21)
Indigenous Leaders Call for Justice in Police Murder of Zapotec Youth
Gerardo Chavez Martinez Did Not Speak English or Understand Police Commands
Indigenous-led organizations and communities across California are monitoring very closely the killing of Gerardo Chavez Martinez in Salinas by the Salinas Police Department. Gerardo was an Indigenous Zapotec youth who did not speak English and had limited understanding of Spanish. When police were called to Gerardo’s home on July 16, he did not understand the commands to come out and to raise his arms. Gerardo was shot three times and murdered by police officer Mario Reyes of the Salinas Police Department.

In response to Gerardo's murder, Indigenous leaders issued a press release on July 22 with the following demands: that the California DOJ re-open Gerardo’s case and investigate the shooting to determine Salinas’ Police Departments organizational capacity to interact efficiently and sensibly with the large Indigenous migrant population in their area; that an independent review of Salinas Police Department’s practices around de-escalation techniques be conducted; and that Salinas Department police officers receive training to understand and communicate effectively with the linguistically diverse population they serve in Salinas, which has a large segment of Indigenous peoples from Mexico.

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