Police Killing of Alexander Martinez Sparks Outrage in Mexico
The teen's family is demanding justice after police in Oaxaca shot Martinez while he was visiting the state.
The death of Mexican American teen Alexander Martinez has generated more outrage and grief in the midst of worldwide protests against police brutality. Mexican police shot the 16-year-old last Tuesday in Oaxaca, where he was visiting relatives. Hundreds of people gathered in Oaxaca to say goodbye to Alexander before he was put to rest. The teen dreamed of becoming a soccer player and spent his time on both sides of the Mexico-U.S. border, and had a North Carolina driver's license on him when he was killed.
During his funeral, Alexander's casket was taken to the local soccer field and placed in the penalty area, where players passed the ball to rebound it off the casket so he could score one last time.
The officer who shot Martinez is in custody and expected to go to trial on murder charges, but the incident is still under investigation. “There was a shot directly at nine youths that were riding on motorcycles and since (Alexander) was at the front of the group of people with the frontal shot he died immediately,” said Oaxaca state prosecutor Ruben Vasconcelos.
Alexander's mother, Virginia Gomez, told Imagen Television: “I want my son and here he is, dead, with a shot to the head,” demanding justice for his murder. In a video gone viral on social media, the mother says Alexander and his friends had gone to a nearby store to buy sodas when the tragedy occurred. Another teen was wounded and is still hospitalized. A local police officer told the press the teens were riding motorcycles and didn't stop at a checkpoint. “There’s been talk of a lot of motives,” Vasconcelos added. “The police talk about it being an accident ... but we don’t believe that.”
Governor Alejandro Murat spoke to Alexander's mother and promised her justice would be done. “We are closely monitoring local authorities’ investigation and stand ready to provide all appropriate consular assistance,” the U.S. Embassy said in a statement. Mexico was recently shaken by protests over the death of construction worker Giovanni López, allegedly beaten to death by police in Guadalajara.