By Josefina Morales
On June 5, the family of Alex Gonzales Jr. and their supporters held a press conference at the site of Gonzales’s memorial, only a few feet from where he was murdered by Austin Police Department (APD) officers five months earlier. Loved ones of Garrett Foster, who was murdered by US Army Sergeant Daniel Perry during a protest in the wake of the May Uprisings, were also in attendance in support of the Gonzales family.
An organizer introduced the family, sharing that Gonzales’s widow, Jessica Arellano, recently confirmed that Gonzales was unarmed when APD murdered him, which was also shown in police body camera footage released last month. Arellano was in attendance at the press conference wearing a shirt that read “APD Murdered Alexander Gonzales Jr.”
Arellano confirmed in an interview earlier this month with local monopoly media that plainclothes officer Gabriel Gutierrez first cut Gonzales off as they were driving, initiating the road rage incident. Gutierrez then fired on Gonzales and his family, and pursued them further. The police and ruling class media have pushed Gutierrez’s lie that Gonzales pointed a gun at him despite the lack of evidence.
When the cars came to a stop, Gutierrez continued to threaten the family until APD backup arrived. It was then that Officer Luis Serrato discharged the fatal gunshots at Gonzales as he attempted to check on his infant son in the back seat of the car, already wounded by gunfire.
Liz Gonzales, Alex Jr.’s mother, spoke to the crowd, revealing that APD officers handcuffed Gonzales after he was dead, taking away his lifeless body as if he was a danger to them. She shared that the family chose to cremate her son because his body was so disfigured by the officer’s bullets.
“There’s no peace in my mind, cause that’s wrong what APD did!” she said through tears. “I’m not going away, I’m not going to disappear! I’m not gonna let them forget, they’re not gonna forget me!” She emphasized the criminal nature of Austin police, saying, “this is not regular people we’re messing with, this is a gang we’re messing with, APD itself!”
Alex Gonzales Sr. shared how proud he was to hear his son singing to his grandson Zane one morning, telling supporters how excited Alex Jr. was to be a new father. He explained that Arellano and Gonzales had nearly arrived home after buying baby formula on January 5 before Gutierrez and Serrato attacked the family.
An activist addressed the crowd and informed them of the grand jury proceedings which are currently deliberating on murder charges for Perry, reactionary killer of Garrett Foster. Perry drove into a protest against police brutality last July 25, shooting Foster point blank before driving away. Whitney Mitchell, Foster’s fiancee, was present as the activist raised the demand of Foster’s family and local organizers for Perry to be charged with murder.
The activist also listed other clear demands of the families of Gonzales and Foster: for the arrests and convictions of Officers Serrato and Gutierrez; “no bail for killer cops and pro-police vigilantes”; an end to the slander of victims of APD; complete financial reparations for the families of APD’s victims; and justice for other victims of APD and area police, including Mike Ramos, Tardrick Fowler Jr., Jordan Walton, and Javier Ambler.
The Gonzales family and activists have pledged to return to the memorial site on the 5th of each month to honor Alex Jr. and continue their fight for justice against APD.
Tribune encourages our readers to donate to the fundraiser for Jessica Arellano and her child, Zane. Arellano faces a long physical and mental recovery, and the prospect of raising her child without his father.
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