In the early morning hours of July 24th, 1973, two boys 12 and 13 found themselves in pajamas and shoeless sitting in a Police car. Someone had reportable broken into a vending machine at a Fina station and gotten away with about $8.00 in change.

By A. Govea


After picking up the boys from their grandfather’s home, Officer Cain and Arnold were after a confession. According to the testimony of David his brother, Santos was sitting in the front seat with Cain and his 13-year-old brother was in the back seat with Arnold. 


  Office Cain decided to play a game of Russian Roulette with 12-year-old Santos, one tug nothing, second pull killed Santos instantly. This according to testimony was to scare Santos and force a confession. According to David, Santos’ brother, his last words were ‘I am telling the truth” What happened next has been well documented, civil protests broke out in Dallas by mostly Chicanos/Mexican Americans. Which led to Officer Cain being charged with murder and receiving a 5-year sentence of which he only served 2 and a half years of. Which seems like such a miscarriage of Justice, especially since officer Cain had already killed an 18-year-old burglary suspect. Eyewitness reported that Michael Morehead was on the ground pleading for his life when he was shot. No charges were ever filed in that case. So even though a five-year sentence for murder is insane, he at least was found guilty. Officer Cain lived as a free man after only serving two and half years, he lived for 64 years more years than Santos. Officer Cain died March 17th, 2019; he was 76 at the time of his death.

  Fast forward to July 24th, 2021, Santos Mother Bessie Rodriguez and the rest of the living family finally got an official public apology from the Dallas police department. Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia, the first Latino police chief in Dallas said, “I realize the city has not healed as a city from the loss of Santos. And so, it is after nearly 48 years an official apology from the Dallas police department was delivered. A statue with Santos’ image will go up soon at Pike Park his former playground and a recreation center now carries his name. I am sure while these gestures carry some value, they will never make up for a life of a child. Though perhaps if they had taken the murder of this child more seriously 48 years ago, maybe it would have saved at least some of those that been murdered since then. 

   Maybe there would not have been a George Floyd a Breana Taylor and on and on. We left only to wonder about that. That said, we are all responsible for not allowing this to happen again.

One Response

  1. Amado Peña published a Serigraph to Santos’ memory. It was such a graphic image that Peña turned away from creating any further Chicano Art, thus ending his creative testimony of the injustices during this period of time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Skip to content