Rodrigo Diaz, 22, was driving around with his girlfriend and two friends when he pulled into a driveway, thinking they had arrived at another friend’s house, his brother says. But instead he pulled into the driveway of Phillip Sailors, 69, who thought his home was being robbed, his lawyer says. Sailors then shot Diaz, according to the police report, citing what Sailors told officers at the scene. Diaz later died while in the intensive care unit.
“Basically, what happened is they were looking for one of my brother’s girlfriend’s friends,” says his brother David E. Diaz-Valencia, 23. “The guy came outside and my brother’s girlfriend said he was screaming, ‘Get off my property!’ and he shot into the air. My brother was backing out fast because he was scared and he rolled down the window to say he was sorry and he was not doing anything wrong. Then the guy shot him in his head.”
When officers arrived, Angie Rebolledo, Diaz’s girlfriend, had blood on her jeans, both arms and both hands as she was attempting to get a response from him and screamed frantically that her boyfriend had been shot, according to police.
Police arrested Sailors, of Lilburn, Georgia, who was booked into the Gwinnett County jail Sunday afternoon and charged with murder, according to the police report.
“At this point we have established probable cause to charge Mr. Sailors and when the investigation is complete, we will turn over the case file to the Gwinnett County District Attorneys Officer for processing,” Lilburn police Chief Bruce Hedley told NBC Latino. “To preserve the integrity of the case, I will not be releasing further information concerning this incident.”
Huey Newton of the Black Panthers at a Revolutionary People’s Party Convention in 1970 (David Fenton/Archive Photos/Getty)
From The Root:
It may seem hard to believe, but the modern-day gun-rights debate was born from the civil rights era and inspired by the Black Panthers. Equally surprising is that the National Rifle Association — now an aggressive lobbying arm for gun manufacturers — actually once supported, and helped write, federal gun-control laws.
In light of the Newtown, Conn., school massacre that claimed the lives of 20 children as well as escalating violence in cities like Chicago, which saw 500 homicides in 2012 alone, President Barack Obama recently unveiled his plan for stricter gun control. The proposal calls for a universal background check and a ban on assault-style weapons and high-capacity magazines, along with 23 executive orders. But these efforts — no matter how reasonable — are not without their critics.
It is ironic that the modern-day argument for citizens to arm themselves against unwarranted government oppression — dominated, as it is, by angry white men — has its roots in the foundation of the 1960s Black Panther movement. Huey Newton and Bobby Seale became inspired by Malcolm X’s admonishment that because government was “either unable or unwilling to protect the lives and property” of African Americans, they ought to defend themselves “by any means necessary.”
UCLA law professor Adam Winkler explores this history in his 2011 book, Gunfight: The Battle Over the Right to Bear Arms in America. “Like many young African Americans, Newton and Seale were frustrated with the failed promise of the civil-rights movement,” Winkler writes. In their opinion, “the only tangible outcome of the civil-rights movement had been more violence and oppression, much of it committed by the very entity meant to protect the public: the police.” Winkler goes on to say, “Malcolm X and the Panthers described their right to use guns in self-defense in constitutional terms.” Guns became central to the Panthers’ identity, as they taught their early recruits that “the gun is the only thing that will free us — gain us our liberation.”
The Panthers responded to racial violence by patrolling black neighborhoods brandishing guns — in an effort to police the police. The fear of black people with firearms sent shockwaves across white communities, and conservative lawmakers immediately responded with gun-control legislation.
Given a choice to vote “for” or “against” nine of President Obama’s key proposals to reform the nation’s gun laws, Americans support all of them, a new Gallup poll released Wednesday found.
Notably, Americans back criminal background checks for gun sales 91% to 8%, more mental health programs 82% to 15%, reinstating a federal assault weapons ban 60% to 35% and limiting the sale of high-capacity magazines to 10 rounds per clip 54% to 43%, the poll finds.
The poll was conducted Jan. 19-20 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.
“The question does not tell respondents that all nine proposals come from Obama’s recently released plan to reduce gun violence; however, the wordings used to describe them intentionally follow the White House’s “Now Is the Time” plan descriptions,” Gallup says.
From Rachel Maddow’s Blog:
A Pew Research Center report released late yesterday found a majority of Americans support a wide variety of new measures, some by enormous margins. For example, 85% of Americans favor making private gun sales and sales at gun shows subject to background checks, while 80% support laws to prevent mentally ill people from purchasing guns.
It’s worth emphasizing that in our current political climate, 80% of Americans don’t agree on much, but they at least agree on measures like these.
What’s more, two-thirds of Americans (67%) favor creating a federal database to track gun sales. In a bit of a surprise, nearly as many people (64%) support having more armed security in schools, boosted by large numbers of self-identified Republicans backing the idea.
Indeed, there are, not surprisingly, significant partisan divides on most of the proposals, with Democrats and Republicans more likely to back new measures than Republicans. That said, looking through the results, it’s hard not to notice that GOP voters are not reflexively opposed to new gun laws — among Republicans, 49% support a federal database, 49% support a ban on semi-automatic weapons, and 46% support a ban on high-capacity ammunition clips.
The proposal, which comes at the end of a month-long review process spearheaded by Vice President Joe Biden, is broken down into four key subsections: law enforcement, the availability of dangerous firearms and ammunition, school safety and mental health.
In an effort to touch on all four of those elements, the president recommended requiring criminal background checks for all gun sales; reinstating the assault weapons ban; restoring a 10-round limit on ammunition magazines; eliminating armor-piercing bullets; providing mental health services in schools; allocating funds to hire more police officers; and instituting a federal gun trafficking statute, among other policies. The cost of the package, senior officials estimated, would be roughly $500 million, some of which could come from already budgeted funds.
The approach is so sweeping that what would have otherwise been a headline-grabbing announcement received second billing. The president on Wednesday will nominate Byron Todd Jones, the acting director for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, to take over the post permanently.