Just under two months after he was granted bail in his third bail hearing, Alex Sanchez was actually released from jail to rejoin his family on Friday, February 5.
Since his release, money has been issue for Sanchez, as there are still some additional bail fees to pay and he has been locked up without income since June. Alex is not allowed to go back to work as the executive director Homie Unidoes since one of the conditions of his parole, is no association with anyone who might be a gang member, former or active—which means he can’t really set foot inside Homies Unidos, much less run it.
Friends have done some fundraising to help out, but that strategy can only be a stopgap measure. He will have to find some other form of income and/or employment as he works with his lawyer on his case,
As a followup to Alex Sanchez’ release, , L’Opinion’s Assistant Editor and Columnist, Gabriel Lerner has written a very long column for the Huffington Post about Sanchez and his case.
For those of you interested in Sanchez’ legal situation, it is recommended reading. While I do not agree with every single word that Lerner has written, his portrait of the emotional reactions to Sanchez arrest and subsequent court hearings provides an informative perspective. Moreover, Lerner’s views and perceptions are very representative of the feelings of those in the communities who know Sanchez best—and should not be too easily discounted.
He also points out that, pretty much without exception, the English language newspapers, when they have reported on the Alex Sanchez case at all, have done little more than regurgitate, unchallenged, the official versions of the case. Whereas Spanish language media has acted as if there are two possible sides to the story.
Here’s a big clip from the column:
As Roberto Lovato points out, while charges against the other 23 defendants were backed by hard evidence, charges against SÃ¡nchez were based on “a series of phone conversations” in which he allegedly participated and discussed the killing of the Mara Salvatrucha member in El Salvador.
The tape of the conversation, which was played in court, is not conclusive and is prone to interpretation.
Those who defend SÃ¡nchez believe the legal campaign against him has broad social and political ramifications, and threatens to de-legitimize the social justice approach to the problem of gangs. That perception is widespread. “If they demonize this population – with whom we work around here – then it’s a short hop to demonize the people who work with them,” said Father Greg Boyle, the founder of Homeboy Industries, one of the most successful gang intervention programs in Los Angeles, pointing to himself in an interview. “I think that’s what happened to Alex”.
This case could thus be a wake up call for those ex-gang members who now work in prevention and intervention and, to be effective use the gang’s language, appearance, and set of values (i.e. respect, family, homies). They are, like SÃ¡nchez, in many cases, ex-gang members, who now fear that they too will be mistakenly accused of maintaining ties with those still committing crimes.
So, the arrest became a daunting reality for many young Blacks and Latinos in the inner city who for years have struggled to escape the reach of gangs. If Alex SÃ¡nchez was still considered a gangbanger after all these years, after all he did, goes the narrative, how will they redeem themselves, be able to escape that environment? Will they be able to make the transition, be allowed to study, work and thrive?
The direct effect of seeing an ex-gang member who has made the transition, SÃ¡nchez said, is crucial. “Nobody can do it except somebody who’s been there. All the kids who looked up to me because of the bad things that I was doing; now they seek change and want to do good in the neighborhood”. This example, seeing someone make that all-important transition, is now in jeopardy.
Most of the coverage of the arrest tilted heavily in crediting chief Bratton, the FBI, the US Attorney, the grand jury and others for the charges in the indictment, assuming this was sufficient evidence. It failed to separate the severe accusations against the other defendants and the weaker ones against SÃ¡nchez, who is, by far, the most important target of the 3-year-investigation….
Here’s the rest.
Photo from Cuéntame photo and video collection