by Brian Martel
On March 31, Enrique Quiroz, died after being arrested, tased, and brutalized by police in southeast Austin. Since then his family has been fighting to gain clarity on his death and calling for the community to organize against police violence.
On the day of his death, Enrique’s wife called the police on him for a trespassing violation, saying he was acting strange. The police report claimed that Enrique failed to comply with commands. Officers tased him, handcuffed him, and he died later in the hospital due to an unspecified “medical emergency.”
Witnesses say that Enrique did not die at the hospital but on the scene. Multiple videos and testimonies show that, after being tased, Enrique was dragged down the stairs while crying out for help, placed on a stretcher, and given an injection. A coroner told the family that he had excessive bruising.
In a video interview with Tribune, Benny Ochoa, Enrique’s cousin, condemned APD for hiding information about his death; APD has not released the body cam footage or autopsy report. Benny also points out that the officers responsible for his death, Eduardo Pineda and Spencer Hanna, have faced almost no consequences. He said in a press conference last week, “the only thing they’re on is administrative leave or whatever, but they’re still getting paid, they’re still on the clock. They’re still able to do stuff with their family and all that.” Soon after being put on paid administrative leave both officers returned to full duty.
The family has three main demands, that APD provide the autopsy report, the body camera footage, and the police report. APD has dragged their feet to provide these, and Benny says he and his family “are not going to sit here and stand by any longer.”
Benny has stated that the police should not have been called because of the danger they pose. He says that he wishes he or another family member had been called instead to resolve the problem without threatening his cousin’s life. Because of their role in repressing the people, the police unnecessarily escalate situations, especially with individuals in a mental health crisis, often to deadly conclusions.
So far Enrique’s family has received support from community members dedicated to fighting police violence in the name of Enrique ‘Remin’ Quiroz. The family is calling for Austin to unite against police violence, demand justice, and make sure Enrique Quiroz’ name isn’t forgotten. His community will be holding a mural unveiling and vigil on June 27 at 8PM, at 2701 Gonzales St.