Brooklyn, New York
January 12, 1996
Agencies: New York Police Department NYPD
Cause of death: Shooting
Last updated: over 5 years ago
Lillian Flores' son Frankie Arzuaga was 15 years old when he was murdered by an NYPD sergeant named James Hand. Frankie was sitting in the back seat of the Honda when some cops came up on him and his friends in Brooklyn last January. They approached the Honda, but did not identify themselves. They just started grabbing at the door handles saying "open the door." As the driver of the car pulled away, Hand shot into the back of the moving vehicle. One of the bullets hit Frankie Arzuaga in the back of the head. He died a day later.
The cops didn't even report the incident in the police department's log of major incidents, which is distributed within the department and to reporters. This police murder would have remained hidden if Frankie's family hadn't contacted the local Spanish-language newspaper El Diario. The family wanted justice and demanded the cops stand trial for the murder. Last week, Newsday reported that the Brooklyn D.A. is quietly preparing to drop its investigation without indicting the cops for the murder of Frankie Arzuaga.
The only reason the case was even under investigation was because Frankie's mother and stepfather, David Muniz, have struggled to get justice. At the memorial march for her son on the anniversary of his death, Lillian Flores said: "My son, he was 15 years old. Today is the day, this time that he was going home when Sergeant James Hand killed him. He was a kid. He was thinking about what he was gonna do in the future. He always said `Ma, I would like to be a author.' Pero, the cops, no...they killed his chance to be that. They say we are the bad. No, they are the bad. Everything they do, they right. Everything we do, we bad. We have to be crying out there, screaming out there for justice for our kids that cops killed and they still is the cops out there, like nothing happened. But when one of them are killed by a kid, we pay for that and we go to jail for that.
"They think that because they said that they're gonna close the case, I'm gonna go and sit and say okay, go. No! My son is a person. He's a kid. I don't know how they--they don't have hearts anyway. They're dogs. Pero, like I said, my son is 15 and we're fighting for justice and I'm still gonna fight for justice and for the other mothers and we still gonna fight."