They Threw a Teenager on the Ground and Tased Him While He Ate Dinner, Then Charged Him With a Crime He Didn't Commit

Virgilio Aguilar Méndez was a teenager sitting outside a Super 8 motel one night in St. Augustine, Florida, eating dinner while talking to his dad on the phone.

Police intruded because they claimed the teen's behavior was somehow "suspicious." The teenager - who is of Indigenous Mayan descent - couldn't understand what the officers were saying, repeatedly apologizing for his language difficulties. Despite all this, police continued to interrogate the boy - eventually searching his body.

Completely startled and unsure what was happening, the teen did what a reasonable person would do - he balked at this sudden invasion and resisted. That's when suddenly two deputies were throwing the boy on the ground, stunning him over and over again with a taser.

Now, seven months later, the boy sits languishing in prison for something he didn't do, threatened with potential life in prison. Sign the petition to demand an end to this outrageous miscarriage of justice.

Body camera footage captures the teenager repeatedly screaming and crying out for his family. During this ordeal, officers continued to search his body, finding a small pocket knife in his pocket - which isn't illegal, and which he did not use or brandish at any point during the interaction. Body camera footage confirms all of this. Nevertheless, they confiscated the blade and handcuffed the boy.

At that point, one of the officers suddenly began to experience cardiac arrest, collapsing on the ground. During this whole time, Aguilar Méndez was shackled and not posing a threat to anyone. Police rushed the officer to a hospital, where he died - and medical examiners confirmed it was from entirely natural causes, unrelated to the handcuffed teenager.

Despite all this, officers have charged Aguilar Méndez with aggravated manslaughter of an officer. He currently is behind bars, where he has been held without bond for months. The judge overseeing his case has even mandated that the boy be forced to take psychiatric medications - even though he has not been diagnosed with any mental illnesses.

Aguilar Méndez did not commit any crime. He was eating dinner while talking on the phone. None of that is illegal. He did not harm the officer. And he had rights that officers violated by conducting a search and seizure without reasonable cause. Yet so-called "law enforcement" in Florida is currently attempting to punish the teenager, just because it can.

This is shocking and indefensible. It's also clearly racist and xenophobic. We must speak out now and denounce what police in Florida are doing to this boy! Authorities there must drop all charges against him and release him from prison immediately! Sign the petition now.
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