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The KUT Longhorn Radio Network Presents: Mexican American Experience Collection

Audio recordings including interviews, music, and informational programs related to the Mexican American community and their concerns in the series "The Mexican American Experience" and "A esta hora conversamos" from the Longhorn Radio Network, 1976-1982.

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PROGRAM INFO

Title:
Police Brutality
Program #
1979-05
Theme:
Politics

Series:
Social Issues
Host:
Armando Gutiérrez
Guest:
Paul Rich
Date:
Nov 14, 1978

Police Brutality

In this lecture, Paul Rich, a civil rights attorney, analyzes the case of Rodolfo Santillan, who was killed while in police custody and discusses the problem of police brutality. Rich represented Santayan’s family in the case the brought against the two Robstown police officers who detained Santayan and struck him with a revolver, fatally breaking the skull of the college student and community activist. Rich explains that a jury acquitted the two officers on the ground that striking Santayan with the revolver did not constitute unreasonable force and resulted in death only because the victim’s skull was thinner than average. Rich then discusses the problems facing agencies who seek to prosecute cases of brutality. Rich argues that despite their noble intentions, such organizations do not respond fast enough to assist the families and communities affected by police brutality. They lack both the resources and priorities to meet their needs.

Rich also discusses the problems within the police that create conditions where brutality can occur. He explains that many rural police forces do not have the processing capabilities to train and guide new police officers. Rich does not think hiring more minorities will address the problem. He does believe the police needs more officers who are well-trained and thoroughly evaluated. He hopes that society can put police brutality in the past, but history does not seem to indicate that will happen. He concludes that a more informed and outraged populace can ensure that society holds police accountable for their actions.

 

Center for Mexican American Studies | Department of History | The Benson Latin American Collection

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