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‘Our Trayvon Martin’: Santos Rodriguez documentary tells story of boy murdered by white Dallas cop

Dallas Morning News

Originally Posted: July 18, 2018

Click here to learn more about the Santos Rodriguez Memorial Endowed Scholarship which promotes Human Rights education for emerging leaders and honors the memory of a young boy whose life ended far too soon.

Documentary filmmaker Byron Hunter wants to make sure younger generations know crucial elements of Dallas Latino history.

He points to the rise and fall of Little Mexico, the significance of Pike Park and the tragic murder of 12-year-old Santos Rodriguez, who was killed Russian-roulette-style by a white Dallas police officer.

Hunter, who grew up in Dallas, said he wants to use the upcoming 45th anniversary of Rodriguez’s death as a teachable moment for the community. His latest documentary, Santos Vive, is set to release next week with a public screening, presented by the USA Film Festival, Tuesday, July 24, at the Texas Theatre in Oak Cliff.  ”

My remembrance of Santos Rodriguez is vivid. It was a major and critical moment in my life. My dad came to me to say, ‘Something bad happened, son,’” said Hunter, who was 9 at the time.

It was July 24, 1973, when officers picked up Santos and his brother, David Rodriguez, for questioning about a theft of change from a soda machine. During the interrogation, Officer Darrell Cain held a .357 Magnum to Santos’ temple and pulled the trigger. His brother sat next to him the entire time.

The news led to widespread protests in the city. Cain was sentenced to five years in prison for murder with malice and was released after serving half the term.

In addition to the screening, events marking the anniversary include a community gathering at Pike Park on Thursday, July 19, and a graveside service Saturday, July 21.

Some feel younger generations aren’t familiar with their community’s history. Rosemary Valtierra Hinojosa, 66, who was an activist and recent Southern Methodist University grad at the time of Rodriguez’s death, remembers the shock it created in the community. She is featured in Hunter’s documentary. READ MORE