A video of a 16-year-old boy’s funeral in Oaxaca, Mexico, has gone viral on social media platforms. The emotional footage shows the boy’s friends and teammates paying tribute to their football-loving friend by setting up a goal thanks to a rebound off his casket. After the goal is scored, the boys flock to the casket in a touching scene.
The video was shared by a sports reporter in Mexico, Guillermo Schutz, and the caption states in Spanish that the boy, named Alexander, was killed by police in Oaxaca:
Así despiden en Oaxaca a Alexander, el joven de 16 años asesinado por policías municipales.
Sus compañeros lo honran con su último gol.
Todos estamos llorando. pic.twitter.com/1hbhyl5Mt6
— Guillermo Schutz (@memo_schutz) June 12, 2020
Mexican media have named the teenager Alexander Martínez Gómez, known as Chander, an American-Mexican teenager who was born in North Carolina but lived with his family in Oaxaca to pursue his dream of a football career. Martínez was killed on the evening of June 9 when he went to the store with his friends to buy soda, in the municipality of Acatlán de Pérez Figueroa.
Martínez Was Shot by Police Although the Circumstances Are Unclear
When they were returning from the store on their scooters, media reports say the friends encountered a police checkpoint. Details of the shooting are unclear, but according to some local media interviews with friends and family, the police told the teenagers to stop, firing in the air, before shooting at them and killing Martínez as well as injuring one of the boys.
One article states that the police shot and killed him by accident, believing the group of teenagers were armed criminal suspects they were in pursuit of. Another article indicates the police checkpoint was a COVID-19 stop and the group of friends bypassed it. Reforma quoted an interview with a cousin of the victim, who said that Martínez was on a motorbike with a 15-year-old friend leaving the convenience store when police began shooting at them from a patrol car.
“They didn’t give them the option to stop or take off their face masks,” Dulce Darián told Reforma. “They simply started to shoot and they shot him in the head. Alexander died instantly because the police didn’t want to give him first aid.”
There is a video posted to Twitter, copied below, which shows a woman shouting at police officers. She appears to be Martínez’s mother based on what she’s saying and the comments on the video. She yells toward police officers in Spanish: “My son wasn’t bad, he didn’t smoke, he didn’t drink, my son had a dream.” She said, “They’re not criminals, they’re kids. And I’m not going to believe that these a**holes confused them with someone else.”
Anoche policías del municipio de Acatlán de Pérez Figueroa Oaxaca. Asesinaron en Vicente camalote a un niño inocente de 16 años, un niño sano sin vicios, según lo confundieron. #justiciaparaalexander #justiciaparachander@NTelevisa_com @AristeguiOnline @AztecaNoticias pic.twitter.com/k0EkbjvSwk
— Lizbth.glez (@lizbth_glez) June 10, 2020
The Incident Is Under Investigation & Prosecutors Are Ruling His Death a Homicide, According to Local Media
The municipal government posted about the teen’s death on its Facebook page and indicated that an investigation would be taking place. It expressed regret at the incident and seemed to indicate that it was an accident, saying it did not occur “in bad faith or to damage the community.” It later indicated that it would be cooperating fully with the investigation and they will “respect the results of the investigation.”
According to Mexican media, the Oaxaca Prosecutor’s Office has ruled that Martínez’s death is a homicide. The state prosecutor, Rubén Vasconcelos, announced in a radio interview that the charges against the responsible police officer would be placed before a judge and they will be requesting the maximum sentence for the crime, anywhere from 40 to 105 years. The prosecutor also said that the investigation will continue to determine if any other officers will be charged, as they believe one of them attempted to plant a weapon beside Martínez’s body.
Mexico has been the scene of many protests against police violence in past days, similar to protests going on in the U.S. and elsewhere. Mexicans have been showing their outrage at police brutality following the death of 30-year-old Giovanni López. López was detained by police on May 4 in a town near Guadalajara for not wearing a face mask. Video of his arrest was posted online on June 4, showing police officers forcing him into their vehicle.
López’s family looked for him at the police station and they were told he was brought to the hospital — when they arrived, they found his body. The autopsy showed that the 30-year-old died of blunt force trauma to the head.