Dallas proclaims Monday as 'Santos Rodriguez Day' in honor of 12-year-old boy

The city of Dallas honored the life and legacy of a 12-year-old boy shot and killed by Dallas police 50 years ago. 

The city issued a proclamation designating Monday as "Santos Rodriguez Day."

The officer was convicted of murder but only served a portion of a very light sentence.       

David Rodriguez witnessed his then 12-year-old brother, Santos Rodriguez, being shot by a Dallas police officer on July 24, 1973.

"David once said a long time ago this is not going to stop. It’s going to continue even after his death. All of this is going to continue, and something needs to be done about it," said David’s wife, Daphne Rodriguez.

On the 50th anniversary of the death of Santos Rodriguez, city leaders issued a proclamation in honor of Santos.

Advocates with the Santos Vive Coalition have pushed to keep the boy’s memory alive. 

The day of the murder, Santos and David were picked up on suspicion of stealing $8 at a gas station. 

"When he got shot, he told his brother, ‘Don’t worry, brother. When we get home, Grandpa’s going to put a Band-Aid on that.’ He had no idea what had occurred. That, to me, is appalling," said LULAC President Hilda Ramirez Duarte.

During the trial for the now deceased Officer Darrell Cain, it was revealed Cain fatally shot the boy while playing Russian roulette while trying to get Santos to confess. The boy insisted he was innocent. 

Cain was convicted of murder and served half of a five-year sentence. Protests were held as tensions rose in the following days. 

"There is a reason that communities do not trust, oftentimes, law enforcement," said Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia. "And there are reasons why and Santos Rodriguez is a reason why in the city of Dallas." 

 It wasn’t until 48 years after Santos’ death that an apology came from the Dallas Police Department. It was from Eddie Garcia, DPD’s first Latino chief.

"This was not a training issue," he said. "This was an individual that never deserved to wear the badge." 

Other events honoring Santos include a symposium,  poetry and a live discussion.