JUSTICE FOR JACOB
We will continue to fight for Jacob’s Future
by Rosie Chavez, Auntie of Jacob Dominguez
The police will have you believe that the Jacob they executed was armed, dangerous, and that his past somehow made it justifiable that police gunned him down the night of September 15, 2017. But the Jacob I know, my first nephew, my baby I helped raise, was much more than the mugshot blasted on the news. The Jacob I know was respectful, loving, and had a good heart. Nothing could bring out his big smile and laughter more than his children. He didn’t deserve to die they way he did.
Police immediately put out Jacob’s criminal history and mugshot before our family was even contacted. I learned it was Jacob that the police killed from my best friend who called me from work asking, “Did you see the news today?” We heard about a police shooting, and when my friend asked me that, I swallowed my heart. I ran down the hallway screaming, No! No! No! I wasn’t going to believe it until the coroner’s office said it was Jacob. My friend reached the coroner’s first and described Jacob through his tattoos; that’s how we knew it was him.
To this day, the police haven’t called to tell us it was Jacob. Yet, they were quick to put out a description of him that is not the Jacob our family raised. Growing up, Jacob was a really good, respectful and well-disciplined kid. He was our family’s pride and joy. He proudly took on the role of big brother to his younger cousins on his mother’s side.
When Jacob was in junior high he really needed his father; he needed structure and he went to live with his dad. He had been playing sports all his life, and then he stopped playing and just wanted to hang out with his friends. That’s where the struggles started. Regardless, Jacob always put family first. He was full of love and never liked family disagreements. He was very protective of his family.
Going to prison at around 20 years old for his only prison term was a big change for him. He spent about six years in prison, and his mother and sister visited regularly wherever he was. He would make the best of his visits, cherishing and appreciating the efforts they took to visit him – often traveling anywhere up to 600 miles to see him. He always gave advice to the younger ones, telling them to focus on school, get a job, be good to the family. He wouldn’t talk about what it was like on the inside; he would just say that they wouldn’t want to end up there.
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The first celebration Jacob went to after being released was his sister’s Sweet 16. She had even moved her birthday party to wait for him to come home. She was so happy.
It was hard for Jacob to find his footing after doing time. Because of his facial tattoos, the life obstacles that come with being released from prison, and having a criminal record, it was hard for him to find a stable job. He took side jobs and odd work with demolition. Until one day, he was given a chance with a family friend, doing glazier work installing windows. The man took Jacob in and taught him everything on site, to the point that Jacob moved up as foreman running his own crew. He was so proud!
Jacob and his wife then started a family – their first boy was born in 2010; their second, 3 years later; and their third, a baby girl soon after. When he had his little girl, he was stressed not knowing how he was going to raise a girl. He’d joke about how she couldn’t do anything wrong. He had his Mama Gurl wrapped around his finger, and she had him wrapped around hers. Jacob loved his children with all his heart. He was also the only uncle for his nephew from his sister, and they ended up with a bond that no one can take from the little guy. They were each other’s “Brodie” – the name they had for each other.
Jacob met a lot of good, hardworking men in his field. He had lots of friends he grew up with or was in prison with who also changed for the better. Any one of Jacob’s friends could’ve been Jacob the night he was killed. Many of them have tattoos and the common misconception is that they’re not any more than their past. But they all grew up – they’re workers, fathers, husbands, and brothers with careers, are stable and kept away from prison life. They outgrew the streets.
With Jacob gone, his entire family struggles with deep loss and disbelief. His mother grieves daily. They took her only son – her firstborn taken away from her in such a tragic and horrific way. How does she move on? Jacob’s kids lost their daddy. His wife, a full-time nursing student has to try and pick up the pieces to raise their babies without their rock. His sister is left trying to explain to her son that his Brodie isn’t coming back, that he’s with Jesus. He asks why did Jesus take my Brodie? Losing Jacob has had a huge impact on our entire family. The cops judged him for his past, but we will continue to fight for his future.