Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Palabra Final > Immigration > Freelance reporter fundraising money to cover trial of policemen accused in cover-up of immigrant’s death

Freelance reporter fundraising money to cover trial of policemen accused in cover-up of immigrant’s death — The beating death case of undocumented Mexican immigrant Luis Eduardo Ramírez Zavala at the hands of four white teens in Shenandoah, PA probably has the distinction of being in court more times than any other attack on unarmed undocumented immigrants in this country.


Regular readers of Latina Lista will recall that back in the fall, multimedia reporter Gustavo Martínez, covered the hate crime trial that was brought against two of the four defendants by the Department of Justice, after an initial trial absolved the boys from any major convictions.

Undocumented immigrant Luis Eduardo Ramírez Zavala lies in a coma before he dies from his injuries after being beaten because he was Latino.

It was because of the public outrage as a result of that verdict, the boys found themselves in a second trial facing very serious hate crime charges. Unlike the outcome of the first trial, the boys were found in the second trial to be guilty and will be sentenced later this month.

However, a third trial was spawned from this tangled web of deceit and injustice when it was discovered that several members of the local police (one who was romantically involved with the mother of one of the young defendants) conspired to cover up the crime.

The trial for these former Shenandoah police officers begins this month in Wilkes-Barre, PA and once again multimedia reporter Gustavo Martinez will be there to cover it — on his own dime.

“This story is personal to me,” Martinez said. “I have followed it since it began more than two years ago. I know its characters and its locations. That is what I bring once more in hopes to tell a good story and let my community know what is happening with one of their own.”

Martinez will relocate to Wilkes-Barre, PA for 2-3 weeks. Each day he will give daily updates via Twitter, his blog and in a Spanish podcast for community radio stations across the country.

And like before, Martinez is asking the at-large community for help in defraying some of his costs by going to the pitch page at, fill out a 2-minute survey and earn free credits towards Martinez’s goal of about $760.00, or donating cash if possible.

The trial begins Monday, January 10. Martinez has given himself about a month to raise the money but he’s off to a good start.

As much as the trials of the young men, at whose hands Ramirez Zavala died, deserved to be covered so does the trial of these police officers. Their actions grossly violated the public trust, their oath to protect the public and what it means to wear the badge.

Coverage of this trial isn’t just deserved, it’s demanded so that these officers can serve as examples that justice can be delivered in this country regardless of one’s position and that the lives of undocumented immigrants are not expendable but equally worthy of justice.

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