The Police Don’t Keep Us Safe: The Murder of Neida Tijerina

Police in San Antonio, Texas killed Neida Tijerina while she was held hostage by her partner. The police do not protect us — they must be abolished.
  • Paul Ginestá | 
  • August 6, 2021
Photo: NBC News

On the evening of Monday July 26, Neida Tijerina, 29, was killed in a hostage situation on the South Side of San Antonio, Texas. Cops withheld footage of the incident, but during a press conference on July 28, after which he refused to take questions, San Antonio Police Chief William McManus admitted that physical evidence points to Tijerina being killed by SAPD gunfire. 

Tijerina and several children were held hostage on Monday by her common-law husband, Angel Sanchez, who had a history of domestic violence charges. “Sanchez indicated to family that he was going to kill Tijerina and then kill himself,” said McManus on Wednesday. However, it seems that it wasn’t Sanchez who killed Tijerina — it was the cops. After officers opened fire on Sanchez outside of their apartment, Tijerina was found unresponsive inside. 

Police abolition is the only solution to ending this cycle of violence. When the police are chiefly concerned with upholding order, domestic and sexual violence only become issues when they disturb the “public order”; in this case, very public and violent confrontations, with little regard for the lives involved. While workers are held responsible for every one of their mistakes on the job, police are never held to the same standards. That’s because they are not workers and their job is not to protect us. Police violence will only end when they are held responsible for their crimes.

Neida Tijerina’s murder is not only a two-fold example of police violence against communities of color, but also an example of the inability of our “justice” system to prevent and stop domestic violence. On top of the long history of policing failing victims of domestic and sexual violence, the police’s handling of this incident will further give pause to anyone who finds themselves in this situation; they can expect violence either from their abuser or the police who are supposed to protect them.

Among the veterans of the same police department is former cop Matthew Martin, who was charged on July 12 with unlawful installation of a tracking device and possession of child pornography. Time and again, we’ve seen the police abuse their authority and access to military-grade hardware and public records to terrorize their domestic partners. To add on child abuse highlights the level of perversion anyone with this power is capable of.

Just as reforming the police will never be enough to stop cops killing Black and Brown people, reforms will never be enough to stop violence against children, women, trans, and queer folks. Using the same force that allows and perpetuates oppression and violence to stop the same oppression and violence is not only a mistake but an active step backwards for anyone seeking to build a revolutionary socialist movement.

You can donate to Neida Tijerina’s family’s GoFundMe here.  

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