The family of Mexican immigrant Anastacio Hernandez Rojas, who died in 2010 at the hands of the Border Patrol, said Thursday that the empaneling of a federal grand jury in the case is a step toward justice.
Maria Puga, Hernandez's wife and the head of a national movement to demand that President Barack Obama convene the grand jury, told Efe that she is confident that with this move "the government is going to see justice done."
"It's the result of the pressure of the people and making public the video that shows the attack," said the immigrant's wife.
A PBS documentary broadcast in April included images of what happened on the night Hernandez died and the testimony of two eyewitnesses, which - according to Christian Ramirez, with the Southern Border Communities Coalition - proves that this is "a case of torture and injustice."
Ramirez said that the convening of a grand jury is likely a "step toward the filing of criminal charges against those responsible for this murder," although he acknowledged that nobody knows "what type of charges, against whom or what evidence is going to be presented."
For the activist, the fact that Hernandez's family has taken a public stance and has become involved with the families of eight other residents in border communities who have died at the hands of the Border Patrol since 2012 is significant.
"It's very important that it's the families who are heading up the fight for justice and that they have an impact on the communities because it allows them to move from being victims to being social actors, thus alleviating the trauma of losing a loved one," Ramirez said.
"The basic problem cannot be resolved in the courts, it's one of politics where the operation of the Border Patrol must be reformed to eliminate its impunity, which has created a culture of corruption," Ramirez said.
Maria Puga confirmed that her lawyers are also preparing a civil suit because due to the absence of her husband her family has been experiencing great economic difficulties.
"My five children, who are between 6 and 22 years old, follow me around asking about the loss of their dad, why they killed him and I can't answer them. After the second video, it's been even more difficult and so we're still in the fight, asking for justice and prison for those responsible," Puga said.
She said that this is not a case that's linked to immigration status, but rather one of abuse of power and authority. "They never thought that he had a family and five kids who were waiting for him and that he'd been living in the U.S. for more than 25 years."
The PBS documentary showed a dozen agents "surrounding Hernandez while he lay face down, handcuffed, while he's beaten and shot with a taser five times, at the same time that he's begging for his life," Ramirez said. EFE