By Oliver Powell
This past Monday, the family of Alex Gonzales Jr., a 27-year-old man whom the Austin Police Department (APD) murdered in early January, held another vigil in honor of his life and memory at the site of his death, and called for the community’s continued support in their fight for justice.
The sun set while attendees wrote words of support for the family to place at the memorial site and the family mourned the loss of their son surrounded by friends, community members, and activists. Some local politicians attempted to persuade the public that they would help deliver justice for Alex Jr., but their photo-ops were stifled as attendees demanded real action instead of hollow apologies and speeches.
APD murdered Alex Jr. on January 5, blocks away from where they murdered Mike Ramos less than a year ago in the East Riverside area. On Thursday, bourgeois media finally acknowledged the name of Gabriel Gutierrez, the plainclothes police officer who shot Alex Jr. and his partner in a road rage incident prior to Officer Luis Serrato delivering the killing shots. This delayed revelation comes almost three weeks after Tribune of the People was the first news outlet to identify Gutierrez publicly.
“When we come as a community it makes everything better. People we don’t even know feel sympathy for my family because it’s wrong what [APD] did. We gotta stay strong, and as long we got y’all supporting us we’re strong as a team,” Alex’s sister Angel told the attendees at the vigil. “Just you showing your support for our family means a lot.”
Community members, activists, and supporters spoke about the need to unite the people of Austin and fight for justice for Alex Jr.’s family. Local politicians, like Frank Ortega of Round Rock City Council and Vanessa Fuentes of Austin City Council were in attendance, but members of the community expressed skepticism toward the politicians and their ability to deliver justice for the people.
A family member of Jessica Arellano, the partner of Alex Jr. who was shot and sustained life-threatening injuries, angrily confronted the politicians between speeches, demanding to know, “Why isn’t anybody saying anything? Why is this officer still free?” He continued, “How am I supposed to raise my son and tell him these police are protecting and serving him when they aren’t protecting or serving anybody?”
When asked whether APD could be trusted to deliver justice for Alex Jr., one of the Gonzales family’s supporters told Tribune, “To the extent that it happens, it’s gonna be because of community pressure and organization.”
Tribune spoke with a close friend of Alex Jr., a 25-year-old Mexican immigrant, who said, “I do have faith, but honestly, faith ain’t gonna get you a lot. You gotta have manpower behind it.”
Another attendee at the vigil said she hopes that every family who has lost a loved one at the hands of the police will unite and fight for justice together: “It’s happened to so many different families, and it just keeps happening. Maybe with so many people coming together it will make a change.”
Tribune of the People continues to support the call for people’s justice for Alex Jr., stands with the family and community who will fight until this is realized, and opposes the attempts of ruling class politicians to traffic in the anger and grief of the people.
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