Photo: Robert Kennedy and Ruben Salazar in 1968
The case of a Los Angeles Times columnist who was killed over four decades ago when he was hit in the head with a tear gas projectile has found its way in to the news once more, and the office of Independent Review for the Sheriff’s department released the results of its investigation Tuesday.
After Salazar’s death 41 years ago, many were left with a number of questions, namely, did Los Angeles law enforcement dislike him enough to kill him?
Ruben Salazar was a huge figure in the Chicano movement and often clashed with the LAPD and LASD as he was a proponent of the Eastside anti-war movement.
The most recent investigation of Salazar’s death highlighted two points.
1) Salazar, whose big personality was often used to antagonize law enforcement, had many enemies with both the LAPD and the LASD.
2) While the above is true, there is no evidence to conclude that it was the intention of the officer or other officials to kill Salazar.
In the report the investigators wrote:
“Certainly through the prism of current best police practices, it cannot be disputed that the deputies who responded to the Silver Dollar Cafe on August 29, 1970, employed poor tactics and made mistakes that resulted in Mr. Salazar’s death.”
Adding that a “hashed up operation in a sea of chaos … resulted in the tragic death of Mr. Salazar rather than a deftly designed assassination.”
Salazar was a columnist and onetime foreign correspondent for the L.A. Times, and was also the news director for the Spanish-language KMEX-TV. After his death, Salazar was memorialized in parks, on stamps, and in schools, as one of the most important Mexican American civil rights activist in American history.