LatinaLista — Mistaken identity, false police reports and vengeful neighbors are all elements that make a good mystery novel. But in this case, there is no mystery — only a sad story of a young Mexican American boy wrongfully jailed and a police department guilty of perpetuating an injustice.
Javier Andrés Rocha, 18-years-old, and his 28-year-old brother, Martin, resemble one another as brothers go but none could mistake the boys as twins, after all there is ten years difference between them. Yet, that isn’t making a difference to the boys’ neighbors, 60+-something-year-olds Nancy and David Stern.
In February, Nancy swore Javier assaulted her but in video tapes showing what happened, it wasn’t Javier and there was no assault on Nancy. What the tapes do show is Martin as the one in an altercation with Nancy and getting attacked by her. Martin, for reasons not clear to Latina Lista, was removing a tennis net that Nancy had strung across the end of her driveway.
In the video, Martin is seen removing the net. Text on the video explains that he hears Nancy, up at her house, getting upset with him for taking down the net. She allegedly is using racial slurs against him (there is no audio on the video). He decides to put back the net across the driveway but gets tangled up in the net. By this time, Nancy has come down to the driveway and according to the text, is still hurling racial slurs.
Martin gets mad and throws the net over to the side. He then tries to leave but Nancy grabs him and, in later pictures, we see where she has clawed him pretty good on the neck. After the incident, with Martin gone, Nancy claims to be having chest pains and is taken to the hospital. At the hospital she reports to the Twin Peaks Sheriff’s Department of San Bernardino County that she has been assaulted and she and her husband identify Javier as her assailant.
When the officers from the Sheriff’s Dept. of Lake Arrowhead pick up Javier, he vehemently denied the charges. In fact, Martin comes forward and takes responsibility for the altercation but the police refuse to believe him. Unbelievably, they slapped three misdemeanor charges — cause or allow harm to an elder or dependent adult, assault with a deadly weapon, not a firearm, and attempted theft of personal property — against Javier and throw him in jail with a bail originally set at $100,000 but now reduced to $75,000. Javier has been sitting in the San Bernardino County Central Detention Center for over a month now.
As should be expected, his family is in agony over his incarceration. The police refuse to admit their mistake or be accountable for the trumped up charges and continue to keep the 18-year-old in jail. There has been an outcry for his release but for some unknown reason the district attorney plans on pursuing the case.
Javier has plead not guilty. Though he was told he could be released if he did plead guilty, Javier refuses to be an accomplice to a lie and so remains in jail until his pre-trial process begins on March 16.
Can this really be happening in this day and age and in California of all states?
The sad truth is it can and is happening. Luckily for Javier, he has a very loving family who is determined to get this story of gross injustice out to the public. Imagine the other young boys who find themselves at the mercy of a justice system biased against them and no one to speak for them.
As Martin states in the video, the reason why they’re going to such lengths to tell Javier’s story is because if it happened to him, it can happen to anyone.
So true and if the police in this case can’t be trusted to do their job without bias then it’s the duty of everyone who still believes in our nation’s justice system to spread the word about Javier’s case and show a young boy that justice can prevail for everyone.