Why do I cast no shadow?

Reaction and non-reaction to the police shootings of Latinos in the U.S.

by Sabrina Vourvoulias, AL DÍA News Media

• • •

Why do I cast no shadow?

Are there lights on all sides shining on me?

Ahead, ahead,

curled up inside the serpent's coils,

the damp breath of death on my face.

I knew at that instant, something must change

or I'd die.

Algo tenía que cambiar.

— Gloria Anzaldúa

• • •

"Why do I cast no shadow? Reaction and non-reaction to the police shootings of Latinos in the U.S." is a multi-part exploration of national and local community reaction to some of the lethal police shootings of Latinos that have taken place in 2015, along with a look at the numbers nationally and a glimpse of Latino-police relations in Philadelphia.

Jessie Hernandez. Rúben García Villalpando. Antonio Zambrano Montes. Ernesto Javier Canepa Díaz. Hector Morejón. Nearly every month of the year so far in 2015 has seen a police shooting of an unarmed Latino or Latina. They are  the dead who make no noise.

Page Title
Deaths of those of Hispanic/Latino origins
Deaths of those of non-Hispanic/non-Latino origins
Black or African American4143
Asian or Pacific Islander211
American Indian or Alaska Native04

©AL DÍA News Media

Aggregate statistics about use of lethal force by police officers are hard to come by, and oddly inconsistent. Because of the discrepancies, they end up being numbers without authority.

©AL DÍA News Media

According to some watchdog organizations, in the past five years, nearly 40 people have died at the hands of the Border Patrol — the largest law enforcement agency in the nation, with 60,000 armed customs officers and Border Patrol agents, and a transparency and accountability problem. Are we  factoring in the Border Patrol when we talk about use-of-force and Latinos?

AL DÍA News Media file photo

One of the revelations of the Department of Justice's report on an investigation of the Philadelphia Police Department is that officer-involved shootings, including fatal ones, are on the rise. And that the department has had nearly 400 deadly force incidents between 2007 and 2013. But numbers don't tell the whole story about policing community in any city. So we ask, what about Philadelphia?