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Hernandez / Police Brutality and Harassment in Odessa

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Hernandez: You could not even come over the railroad tracks this way. Because One time I was pulled over with two of my friends-they have already passed away because we grew up since we were kids- but they had us on the side of the road with our pockets out, zapatos on the hood, no socks, no shirt. All the people passing us by looking like “Awe, they got Nick and them there.” Our low rider was there. They tell us get back in the car and then they would escort us across the tracks and tell us “We don’t want to see you on this side of the tracks.” Then they would make a u-turn and then they would leave. So the guys would look at me and say “now what?” I say, “Well, we are going to go a mile that way and we are going to cross on the other side.” So we would go across on that side [pointing]. We were on that side, on the outskirts of the city limits, and {siren noise] right away they would pull us over. “What are you doing over here.” So now we had to face them. It was a constant battle. Constantly, we ended up in jail for disorderly conduct. That was the charge. Disorderly conduct or your headlights were too low, or the car was too low. I even got a ticket for the lights on the inside painted red one time. I was parked on the side of the road. My lights were not even on, he just drove up and gave me a ticket. There were certain cops that we knew. There was a marshal guy who was a deputy. There was a Lewis and Clark that we knew. They were police officers. They were young kids but they would mess with us all the time. They would wait for me outside the body shop and the would tell me, “Your friend Jan over there is talking about you. They would say “why don’t you go kill him. We will be witnesses that he started it.” Things like that. I would say, “Oh yeah, oh okay. We will see what’s up.” I was not afraid them. They I would leave, and once I would leave in my car [siren noise] they would pull me over and search my car. Give me a ticket. It was constant harassment. Then one day this guy, he was a giant. I seen him and another guy, a big husky guy. We were at the Pan American Ballroom because that is where we had all the chicanos dances. We would go to that ballroom and this guy was in the bathroom. He had about, I do not know how many chicanos in there in the bathroom. I went in the bathroom and he was like in you face. “What are you guys doing going home. You go home and you drink your beer, and you watch TV. You let your wife go to work and get abused. You let the cops throw you in jail. Your sons go to prison. You guys are doing nothing. Are you all scared or what?” He was telling them all kids of things. I was like, hmmm, what is this guy. That is a brown beret. What is a brown beret doing in Odessa? It was crazy. So, I remember after the dance I went out to the parking lot and I saw that big guy. They were together. They were like, “Let’s go kill gringos! Let’s go kill gringos. Let’s go everybody. We will go the South ranchito and have a meeting. ” I was like no man, I am not going to kill no gringos. That ain’t right. Nah, I am going to go home. I am not going to kill no gringos. Because I was brought up going to church everyday at my grandma’s house, so I had different concepts, outlook. There is more of a humanity thing. So I said I am not going to do it. I told the guy, “Man you can’t do that.” Come Chingous que no? He got in my face and I was like okay, you guys do what you want.

Interview Interview with Nick Hernandez
Subjects Religion › Churches
Race Relations › Anglo-Mexican Race Relations
Discrimination or Segregation
Police and Law Enforcement › Police Brutality
Police and Law Enforcement › Jails
Chicano Power › Brown Berets
Police and Law Enforcement › Sheriffs
Ideology › Radicalism
Tags Pan American Ballroom, Odessa, TX
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Interview date 2016-07-08
Interview source CRBB Summer 2016
Interviewees Hernandez, Nick
Locations Odessa, TX
Duration 00:04:44
Citation "Police Brutality and Harassment in Odessa," from Nick Hernandez oral history interview with ,  July 08, 2016, Odessa, TX, Civil Rights in Black and Brown Interview Database, https://crbb.tcu.edu/clips/2974/police-brutality-and-harassment-in-odessa, accessed October 19, 2019