4
| News |

Four Decades Late, the City Apologizes for Murder of 12-Year-Old Santos Rodriguez

^
Keep Dallas Observer Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Dallas and help keep the future of Dallas Observer free.

In 1993, on the 20th anniversary of 12-year-old Santos Rodriguez's murder at the hands of a white Dallas police officer, the City Council pledged to "never allow such a travesty to reoccur."

It wasn't a particularly bold statement. Promising to stop police officers from playing Russian roulette with unarmed children accused of burglarizing a Coke machine doesn't set the bar terribly high, and the proclamation carefully avoided any suggestion that city of Dallas might have been at fault.

When mourners gathered at Rodriguez's graveside this July to mark 40 years since his death, the city still remained steadfast in its refusal to apologize, instead trotting out the same tired two-decade-old City Council resolution.

See also: Forty Years Ago, a Dallas Cop Shot a Handcuffed 12-Year-Old in the Head. Hispanic Leaders Haven't Forgotten.

Then, at Saturday's big, citywide Conversation about Race confab, Mayor Mike Rawlings surprised everyone by saying he was sorry.

"I got a lot of questions about apologizing for the death of Santos Rodriguez," Rawlings said. "I don't have any clue why this city hasn't apologized for that. There's no excuse for that. And on behalf of the citizens of Dallas, the Dallas City Council, the Dallas Police Department, we wholeheartedly apologize for the death of Santos Rodriguez."

Bessie Rodriguez', Santos' mother, who heard of the mayor's apology second-hand while she was cooking breakfast, was pleased. But she wants to hear it from Rawlings himself, and she wants the city to prove that it's truly sorry.

See also: Four Decades Later, the City Still Won't Apologize for Santos Rodriguez's Murder

"It's the beginning, you know - because we've been waiting for so long," she told NBC 5. "This is the beginning of something."

Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.

 

Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.