A few days before police in Baton Rouge executed Alton Sterling and an officer of the law murdered Philando Castile in Minnesota, Fermin Vincent Valenzuela fell victim to an act of police brutality himself, and ultimately paid with his life as well.
Raw Story reports:
Vincent Valenzuela, 32, died on Sunday after his family took him off life support a week after an altercation with the police left him in a coma. Authorities said officers responded to the scene after they received a call on July 2 for a suspicious man who was allegedly following a woman to her home. Police located the man and confronted him, but Valenzuela engaged in a physical confrontation with them, and according to the family, police allegedly used a Taser gun to control the situation. However, Valenzuela went into cardiac arrest.
“While they were trying to take him into custody he did go into medical distress,” Sgt. Daron Wyatt with the Anaheim Police Department said. “The officers immediately performed live-saving efforts, called for Anaheim Fire and Rescue who came. Paramedics also performed first-aid, transported him to the hospital.” Police said they couldn’t comment on whether Valenzuela was Tased or not.
Valenzuela was rushed to West Anaheim Medical Center where he was in a medically induced coma, but his family took him off life support Sunday. According to his aunt, Marie Cofinco, Valenzuela was pronounced “brain dead,” which is why his parents chose to take him off life support. His relatives met at the West Anaheim Medical Center to say their goodbyes, and later went to a nearby park “in search of peace.”
Since 2009 Valenzuela had a few run-ins with the law which resulted in drug related charges and a probation violation before he spent a month in jail for failure to appear in court. Though this may be due in part to Vincent’s struggle with bipolar disorder and his inconsistency with his medication.
Feeling that police unjustly went after Valenzuela, his family is not going to let the city off the hook for their methods.
According to Univision, Valenzuela’s family will now sue the city of Anaheim, the officers involved in the case and the company who makes Tasers. The lawyer hired to handle the case, Garo Mardirossian, insists that Valenzuela wasn’t following that woman, but rather on his way to his aunt’s house, who lived nearby. “There’s no evidence that he was following her. He was walking from National park to his aunt’s house, which is 20 minutes away from where everything took place,” Mardirossian said.
“The woman thought she was being followed and she did the right thing. She called the police. But we’re questioning police’s reaction and the way they handled a case where there wasn’t a felony.” Valenzuela leaves behind two kids, a boy and a girl, nine and five respectively.
Vincent Valenzuela’s death comes on the heels of a week in which Black and Latino men have been unnecessarily killed by law enforcement officials who operate with itchy trigger fingers and no conscious.
That being said it seems about the right time that Latino’s join in and support – if you aren’t already – the Black Lives Matter movement (not that All Lives Matter nonsense) because at the end of the day it could not be more evident that we’re all in this struggle together.