Opinion

Profiling Leads to Violence: Elderly Tourist from Mexico Beaten with Brick

Twice a year, 91-year-old Rodolfo Rodriguez makes a trip from Michoacan, Mexico to the United States to visit local family members who live in Los Angeles. He always returns to his home in Mexico, where he made his living off the land, growing corn and raising cattle. Most of the trips have been sweet and pleasant, allowing Rodriguez to stay in touch with his family.

However, this past 4th of July, Rodriguez was assaulted by a group of strangers, one of whom used a brick to beat him. The incident occurred while Rodriguez was strolling through a local park when he apparently accidentally bumped into a child. A woman, who was with her child, picked up a brick and hit Rodriguez with it. Reportedly, the assailant also yelled “Go back to your own country!” Being 90-something years old, that was enough to put Rodriguez out of commission but sadly the assault didn’t stop there. Afterward, the woman enlisted a group of men to continue the beating.

After media exposure, the Los Angeles Police Department identified and arrested the female attacker. Per a CNN report, “Laquisha Jones, 30, was arrested Tuesday night in Los Angeles on suspicion of beating Rodolfo Rodriguez last week, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said. She was being held on a charge of assault with a deadly weapon, with bail set at $200,000.”

LAPD cops are now looking for the other suspects and is urging anyone with information to come forward. At least three males are being sought. A brief segment of the incident was caught on camera when a passing bystander stopped to intervene. Rodriguez is recovering in a nearby hospital, having suffered a broken jaw, broken ribs, and severe bruising.

Is this how we treat lawful and legal guests in our country? Of course not, and such violence is wholly unacceptable. Tensions are high right now. All too often, the world feels “zero-sum.” If you get something, that means I lost something. If you’re an “illegal immigrant,” then you’re taking a job from an American.

There are relevant points to the above argument; regardless, it’s never an excuse to attack someone. Nevermind the fact that Rodriguez was just visiting family and had a long track record of returning to Mexico. Never mind that many people of Latino descent live legally in the United States. Attacking a non-violent elderly man who is minding his own business is unconscionable.

Even if Rodriguez were an illegal immigrant, assaulting him was not the answer. Personally, I’d just mind my own business. Just because someone looks Latino or speaks Spanish, that doesn’t mean that they are an undocumented immigrant. However, even if you feel compelled to find out or to follow up, the proper thing to do is to call the authorities. Taking matters into your own hands is unacceptable.

Illegal immigration is far from a “beatable” offense. Most illegal immigrants are simply trying to support their families back home and dream of a better life. Many Americans share those very same aspirations. I won’t fault someone for wanting to live a better life and to provide better opportunities for their family. Even if you disagree with their undocumented migration status, that’s not an excuse to assault them.

Fortunately for Rodriguez, he won’t be saddled with medical bills. As of this writing, a GoFundMe campaign set up for him has so far raised over $261,543 dollars. Still, that’s a small price for a beating that could have cost him his life…over an innocuous happenstance.

The opinions expressed here by contributors are their own and are not the view of OpsLens which seeks to provide a platform for experience-driven commentary on today's trending headlines in the U.S. and around the world. Have a different opinion or something more to add on this topic? Contact us for guidelines on submitting your own experience-driven commentary.
Brian Brinker

Brian Brinker is a political consultant and has an M.A in Global Affairs from American University.

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