Santos was murdered by a Dallas police officer who was investigating the theft of some coins from a vending machine. The cop, Darrell Cain, entered Santos' home, where he was sleeping, yanked him out of bed, then stuck the handcuffed boy in the back of his cop car where he tried to force a confession from the boy by playing Russian Roulette.
A few paragraphs from the Dallas Morning News Editorial: Another city honors Santos Rodriguez the way Dallas should...
Even in 1973 Dallas, it was a shock to the conscience and led to downtown rioting amid the city’s largest civil rights protest to that time. Cain was convicted of murder with malice and sentenced to five years. He served less than three.
How could you have known? As the years passed, Santos’ memory was left to his mother, Bessie, and older brother David. It would not be until 2013 that Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings issued a public apology and spoke personally to Bessie. This year, Rawlings was the first private donor to the Santos Rodriguez Memorial Scholarship at Southern Methodist University.
Laudable acts, certainly. This newspaper, in 2008, suggested the city take the more permanent step of naming a street for Santos, about the time some sought that honor for Cesar Chavez. Today, we have a Cesar Chavez Boulevard. But we have nothing to remember a boy whose death marked such a pivotal moment in our city’s history.
Then, just this week, we learned of Santos Rodriguez Memorial Park, so named “to remind us all of the importance to respect, love, care for, and protect all of the children of the world.” About $350,000 in city parks funding helped redevelop it into a welcoming open space next to El Centro de la Raza.
Please stop by the next time you’re in Seattle.
How could the murderer of this kid get only five years, out in three? Is the murderer still alive?
I have a really good idea what could be re-named in memory of Santos Rodriguez.
Get rid of the clunky Margaret Hunt Hill name of the newest bridge in Dallas, and name it Bridge Santos, or Santos Bridge. This would seem very appropriate since Bridge Santos crosses from downtown Dallas to what looked to me to be a Latino neighborhood.
Naming a bridge for Santos Rodriguez which connects two disparate parts of Dallas, uniting them, would seem to be a bit suitably symbolic.
I really do not think Margaret Hunt Hill would mind the name change. She was a well known, highly regarded Dallas philanthropist, after all.....