Houston: Cop Acquitted in Murder of Pedro Oregón

Revolutionary Worker #1002, April 18, 1999

On March 25, a Houston court cleared a cop in connection with the cold-blooded shooting of Pedro Oregón. This case is a glaring example of how this system legalizes police murder.

In July of 1998, six cops from the Houston Police Department's "gang task force" stormed into a house in the Gulfton neighborhood. Moments later, 22-year-old Pedro Oregón lay bleeding to death in his bedroom--shot 12 times, 9 in the back. The police justification for what happened--parroted by the local media--was quickly exposed as a lie. The cops had rushed into Pedro Oregón's house without a warrant, based on a bogus tip about drugs from an informant. They found no drugs or guns in the house.

The cold-blooded police murder touched off much outrage in the immigrant community of Gulfton and more broadly. The District Attorney was forced to send the case to a grand jury. Eight months after Oregón was gunned down, one of the six cops went on trial.

But this trial was an outrage from beginning to end. The five other cops, including the ones that actually fired the shots, have not been charged with anything. The one cop that did face trial was charged with a misdemeanor--for illegal entry into the apartment! During the trial, the cop's lawyer as well as the prosecutor tried to destroy the memory of Pedro Oregón and the reputation of his family by repeating the police lies. Pedro's brother Rogelio was even threatened with arrest for refusing to testify in this farce. And now, the cop has been cleared of even the misdemeanor charge.

A leaflet from the organization La Resistencia said in part: "After this unjust verdict which declared this officer innocent, many want to know: Where are we in this struggle? Who has won and who has lost? The system wants us to sit with our arms folded and put our confidence in them and the justice they supposedly offer us. But their justice in reality is a grave injustice for the immigrant community. Day after day our people suffer discrimination, brutality and murders at the hands of the police and la Migra.

"The truth is that in this struggle we have won a lot. The Oregón family and the Hispanic community, especially in Gulfton, powerfully rose up in one voice demanding justice. With the struggle of the Oregón family and the community we have won the firing of the six murderers. Many more people are now fighting to stop police brutality. Only because of that is the federal government now talking about investigating this case. 99% of the time they do not do anything. Only the people can win justice. We must make clear that we cannot have confidence in this injustice system. We must rely on ourselves in order to win justice.

"Where do we go? We call on the Gulfton community to use black ribbons to show solidarity with the Oregón family and to demand justice. These can be used on doors of houses and businesses and worn on shirts. In this way the community will show its anger with what has happened. Also, this black ribbon campaign is a concrete way to organize ourselves and involve every person who needs justice. Only through our own actions can we advance the struggle."

For more information on the police murder of Pedro Oregón and the fight for justice, see "Houston: Asesinos in Gulton" in RW#979. Also available online at rwor.org.

To contact La Resistencia: PO Box 2823, Houston, TX 77252-2823, (713)521-3099.

This article is posted in English and Spanish on Revolutionary Worker Online
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