Dallas mayor gives $10,000 to SMU scholarship fund honoring boy killed by police

From Dallas Morning News:

Dallas mayor gives $10,000 to SMU scholarship fund honoring boy killed by police


Mayor Mike Rawlings became the first private donor to the Santos Rodríguez Memorial Scholarship at Southern Methodist University. This weekend, he pledged a personal check of $10,000 for the new SMU endowment fund.

The scholarship honors the memory of Santos Rodríguez, a 12-year-old Dallas boy who was killed by police more than 40 years ago. Scholarship applicants must seek a degree in the university’s human rights program.

“Symbolically, naming it for him was poetic,” Rawlings said in a phone interview.

On July 24, 1973, Santos and his brother were pulled from their grandfather’s home by a Dallas police officer and taken for questioning inside a squad car. At issue: the theft of about $8 from a soda pop machine.

Santos’ life ended when the officer fired a bullet into his left temple during a Russian roulette-style interrogation. Officer Darrell Cain was indicted and sentenced to five years.

According to the trial transcript, Cain said he was trying to scare Santos with his gun, saying, “Tell the truth.”

Santos replied, “I am telling the truth.”

It was determined later that fingerprints at the theft site did not match Santos’ fingerprints.

The slaying galvanized emerging leadership among the city’s Mexican-Americans. “It was an obvious turning point,” Rawlings said. “The Hispanic community came into its own at that point.”