¿Como se dice Rodney King en Espanol? Posters Promote Reform, Commemorate Texas Victim of Police Brutality

Affiliate: ACLU of Texas
October 15, 2002 12:00 am

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HOUSTON-Saying that major reforms are needed to curb the increased incidences of police misconduct and brutality, the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas and other advocacy organizations today unveiled a new poster advertisement meant to commemorate the life of Louis Torres, a Mexican national whose death at the hands of police in the city of Baytown was caught on a police camera.

The poster depicts scenes from the videotaped killing of Louis Torres with the message: “¿Como se dice Rodney King en Espanol?,” which means, “How do you say Rodney King in Spanish?” The text is a reference to the California motorist who was beaten by officers of the Los Angeles Police Department in 1991. The case sparked racial tensions between police departments and communities of color nationwide and focused international attention on the issue of police brutality.

“The main difference between Rodney King and Louis Torres is that Louis Torres was Mexican and he is dead,” said Will Harrell, Executive Director, ACLU of Texas.

The new advertisement will be revealed at a town hall meeting on police brutality which will convene this evening on the campus of Texas Southern University. The ACLU will be joined by representatives of the Texas chapter of the NAACP and members of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), an organization whose mission is to advance the civil rights of Hispanics.

The groups say they will lobby elected officials to have police reform legislation introduced in the Texas Legislature’s upcoming 78th session. The model legislation would require strong civilian complaint review of police misconduct in places like Baytown, a small oil refinery city just east of Houston and part of Harris County. Such legislation would also require appointment of a special prosecutor in cases where police have been accused of serious crimes.

When Louis Torres was killed by Baytown police officers in January, his death sparked a renewed political movement in Houston and surrounding areas aimed at combating police misconduct and protecting the public from police abuse. Since that time, a series of questionable deaths by police officers have heightened the community’s sense that Harris County law enforcement needs reform.

“We want the people of Harris County to remember Torres’ death, honor his family’s loss, and learn from the mistakes that killed him,” said Harrell. “We’re challenging the public to make sure lawmakers pass real reforms that address the issues, and don’t sweep community concerns under the rug.”

In the Torres case, the Harris County District Attorney announced, even before taking the case to the grand jury, that he would not ask for an indictment.

The poster advertisement commemorating Louis Torres is online at: /node/22367

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