By Nélida Tello
Last weekend, activists and community members joined the family of Alex Gonzales Jr., the young Latino man killed by Austin Police Department (APD) on January 5, in two vigils in his honor to demand justice. Additionally, activists rallied outside of APD headquarters against the police murder the same weekend.
On January 8, community members held the first of two vigils in honor and memory of Alex Jr. with his family in attendance. Banners demanding people’s justice for his death were seen as well as others with the slogans, “Austin Has No Confidence in APD!” and “APD Murdered Alex While He Checked On His Infant Son!”
Those present at the vigil raised the demand that APD Chief Brian Manley be fired, and accused Manley for being responsible for Alex Jr.’s murder at the hands of APD officers.
One speaker addressing the crowd agitated against the police narrative that has attempted to justify the murder of Alex Jr. by claiming he brandished a weapon. The speaker explained the necessity of fighting for a better society, one where the working class holds power and fights to end exploitation and oppression, ending the speech by leading the crowd in the chant, “Dare to Struggle! Dare to Win!”
The following day, a rally was held outside of APD headquarters where demonstrators chanted, “APD Killed Again! Organize and Defend!”
The Gonzales family and community members also gathered later that day 9 to honor Alex Jr. at the site of his memorial.
At the vigil, Alex Jr.’s mother Elizabeth Gonzales urged the crowd not to be afraid of APD and join the fight demanding justice for his murder. She told the crowd that she was determined to fight until her death for her son and go after the two police officers who killed him.
Alex Sr. expressed that his son died a hero by, after being shot in the head, checking on his two-month-old child in the back seat of the vehicle as well as his partner Jessica Arellano, who had been shot by the off-duty Austin police officer.
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