31 May 2007

Garifuna Press Release: NYC Shooting

Garifunas in the Bronx Denounce the shooting of an innocent man

Killer Cop must face justice FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 29, 2007

Contacts:

Mirtha Colon Jose Francisco Avila

(718) 402-6452 (917) 783-5298

NEW YORK– Various leaders of New York City’ Garifuna Community, met last Friday to discuss the death of their fellow countryman Fermin Arzu, 41, who was fatally shot by Officer Raphael Lora on Friday night, May 18th.

The leaders in attendance approved a resolution condemning the killing and demanding a full investigation into the matter. “We are not going to tolerate the abuse of our brother’s civil and human rights, while we express our deepest sympathy and support to the Arzu family,” said Mirtha Colon, president of Hondurans Against AIDS, organizer of the meeting. According to published reports, police sources say Officer Raphael Lora thought Arzu was going for a weapon in his glove compartment, but no gun was found. Police say Lora fired five times, striking Arzu once in the back and piercing his heart.

Mr. Arzu – a father of six originally from the Garifuna village of Tornabe in his native Honduras, was a building porter and musician, who has been described as a responsible, hard-working man who never had problems with the police, and who was under the emotional stress of caring for his fianc√©, whom he had picked up from Bronx Lebanon hospital, just a few hours earlier, where she had undergone a mastectomy. According to Celso Castro, “We cannot afford to let the media discredit an honest man’s memory and we stand in solidarity with his family.”

The Garifuna community is outraged as to why an unarmed man had to be gunned down rather than recording his license plate and fine him for the alleged traffic violation. This is a senseless killing by someone who’s supposed to protect the community.

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