On September 12th, 2019, an 18 year old Radford University student, Aris Lobo Perez, was left to die alone in a cell. His mother and his family are still demanding answers from both the University and the police. Why did nobody care for their son? Where is the footage from that night? Why wasn't he given his inhaler in his jail cell?
The night before, Aris' classmates found him in a campus dorm he used to live in, foaming at the mouth and slurring his speech. The Radford campus police were called, who dismissed their worried insistence that Aris needed medical attention. Instead, the police locked him up in the New River Valley Regional Jail, where he died alone from opioid toxicity and severe asthma.
Aris could be any our sons --- any of our friends --- any of our brothers.
It took Radford University and Radford police over 24 hours to even reach out to Mrs. Perez, Aris' mother. Shocked, she wanted to see her son's body, but was denied that spiritual right by the cops. Why? We all want to know. Why would you force a grieving mother to wait nine days until her son's viewing to let her finally see the son you failed to protect?
After viewing his body, she found bruises that the authorities have failed to explain. When Mrs. Perez came to Radford to retrieve Aris' possessions she was only given two trashbags of clothes. She never received his wallet, ID, computer, or phone. Radford University officials instead only gave her a certificate that Aris attended Radford University. She says it was a humiliating experience for her.
Without answers, footage, an investigator, or any of Aris' possessions, how could Mrs. Perez even dream of putting together the night of her son's death. How can she get answers if the voices that are supposed to give them refuse to even treat a grieving mother with an ounce of human dignity?
In response to her son's death and her family's continued mistreatment by Radford University and Radford police they demand the following:
1. Release all footage showing Aris' arrest and detention - Mrs Perez to this day has not seen any footage from the night of the arrest or detainment by the campus police or NRV Regional Jail. There must be an independent investigation with full transparency provided to the Perez family in light of the above information.
2. Care, not incarceration - Radford University officials knew Aris' had disabilities stemming from a vehicle accident prior to admitting him to Radford. Their actions to incarcerate rather than provide care and hospitalization for a disabled student speaks to the failure of Radford University to protect its students, especially disabled students of color.
Mrs Perez and the community demand Justice for Aris!
Black and Brown lives matter!
Disabled Latino students matter!