Caravan, Memorial Held 47 Years After Murder of 12-Year-Old Dallas Boy in Police Custody

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Nearly 47 years to the day after a Dallas boy was shot and killed by a Dallas police officer, a coalition of groups held a caravan and memorial in remembrance on Saturday.

Santos Rodriguez, 12, was shot while sitting handcuffed in a patrol car on July 24, 1973, when hand his brother David were questioned about an $8 burglary. Dallas police Ofc. Darrell Cain questioned Santos by playing "Russian Roulette," threatening the boy with his gun if he didn't speak up.

A bullet was still in the gun and Rodriguez was shot in the head and killed. The controversial shooting sparked rallies across Dallas and that led to unrest. Cain was ultimately convicted of murder in Austin and sentenced to five years in prison, serving two and a half years.

On Saturday, a caravan was held starting at Pike Park in Dallas where organizers said Santos played as a young boy. It ended at Oakland Cemetery, where he is buried.

Dallas police Chief Renee Hall attended the event and speakers included Debra Mendoza with the Brown Berets de Cemanahuac.

“They’re still being judge and jury in the streets, the police officers are. That has to change. That has to change, Chief. We can’t have that anymore,” Mendoza said. “We have to continue the fight. The fight that your grandmother and your grandfather was out there fighting for you to be in the position that you’re in right now.”

Rodriguez’s mother Bessie said she was thankful for all the support they have received.

“It really picked up my heart,” Rodriguez said, referring to the event Saturday. “I’ve really been in the blues for the anniversary and I’m thankful for all of the people here.”

In 2013, then Dallas mayor Mike Rawlings publicly apologized to Rodriguez’s family during a "Conversations On Race" program.

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