A woman refused to watch bodycam footage of six police officers killing her son in a shootout. However, the grieving mother asked the officers one question that left people confused and outraged.
When police officers attempted to pull over 25-year-old Joe Ruiz for a traffic violation in Bakersfield, California, he suddenly took off, leading officers on a chase. Minutes later, he crashed into another vehicle at an intersection, but the pursuit didn’t end there.
“Officers arrived on scene, they were just several moments behind.,” Lt. Rick Dossey, for the Bakersfield Police Department, said. “The suspect fled from the vehicle. There was an exchange of gunfire with officers at the AMPM parking lot at East Brundage and Cottonwood.
Regardless of justification, when someone is shot and killed by law enforcement, we expect protests, accusations, and lawsuits demanding compensation or criminal action against the officers involved. Incredibly, this wasn’t the case after Raquel Urias heard the details of the gun battle that ultimately took her son’s life.
After shooting at the officers, Joe Ruiz tried to carjack a motorist at gunpoint when he was shot the first time by police. Still, he refused to drop his weapon. Instead, he sat down on the pavement and opened fire once again on the officers. Ruiz was shot at least six times and died three days later at Kern Medical Hospital, KBAK reports.
After Raquel Urias was notified of her son’s death, the grief-stricken mother was understandably devastated. However, instead of blaming the officers or running to the media to tell of her child’s innocence, she asked a question that stunned anti-law enforcement activists and the police department alike. She requested to pray for the officers who were forced to shoot her son.
“Rarely have I ever had a mom say to me or a person say to me, ‘Can I pray for the officers?'” Bakersfield Police Department Volunteer Chaplain Angelo Frazier said. “Now that just doesn’t happen.”
Through her sorrow, Raquel Urias explained that she wants to take the opportunity to bring the community together instead of further dividing it.
“I wanted to thank them for of course their services in the community with so much other things going on, not because of what they did to my son, but just as human beings, just them being there,” Urias, said.
Urias refused to watch the bodycam footage of her son’s death but wanted someone neutral to review it and relay the details to her. She said she wanted the unbiased truth and wouldn’t allow it to be twisted to fit any narrative.
“I just don’t want people to say BPD killed him and then there be so much anger or he just did whatever and tried to kill them, I don’t want all that, I just want us to know the truth,” Urias said.
The chaplain reiterated that, as a Christian woman, Raquel Urias hoped to use the tragedy as a way to mend the rift between law enforcement and her community.
“I think what’s unique about this situation, Raquel if I could say, breaking the chains of revenge and hate takes a healthy dose of God’s mercy and grace,” Frazier said.
Frazier left one final message for those seeking to use the terrible tragedy to bolster their political agenda.
“John 3:16, and it says this, ‘For God so loved the world, Democrats, Republicans, liberals, black, white, Hispanic, the world, God so loved the world,'” Frazier said. “God didn’t divide us.”
Understandably, Raquel Urias is still grieving over the loss of her child and wants to know exactly what happened to lead up to such action. However, the pain is too much for her to watch the footage.
The incredible aspect is that she didn’t allow her emotions to prematurely accuse the police officers of wrongdoing. Instead, she chose a logical, peaceful, and gracious approach as she waited for the facts to come out. Whatever the result, she wanted to contribute to the unification of her community and not fan the flames of division and hate.