Justice for Frankie Diaz, Philly Victim of Corrections Homicide:
Interview with his mother, Eva Diaz – System Stonewalling on Explanation for How Her Son Was Killed
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Bob Witanek 908-881-5275
On August 18, 2020 Eva Diaz was notified that her son was near death due to an incident at “DC” jail in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The following is an interview conducted with Eva Diaz.
According to Bob Witanek, interviewer and co-founder of the NJ based organization Decarcerate the Garden State:
“Across the nation the people are mobilized – tired of police gunning down innocent civilians, particularly Black, Brown and impoverished and are in the streets. Hopefully, everyone recognizes that the system is also taking out its citizens and residents through Corrections Homicide – deaths from COVID-19, instances of violence due to neglect or CO violence and other causes. Hopefully, the Philadelphia area media will tell Frankie Diaz’s story and get to the bottom of this grave injustice. And hopefully also, the community-based organizations in Philadelphia will respond with an outburst of support. I encourage all to reach out to Eva Diaz, the details on how to do so are at the end of this interview.”
The following is the text of the interview with Eva Diaz by interviewer Bob WItanek, questions in bold.
Your son was in a detention jail after an arrest ? Was he there awaiting trial in lieu of bail? What kind of charge was he facing?
Yes. Frankie (my son) was in the jail in Philadelphia that's called DC which is short for Detention Center. My son was being held there while awaiting his trial which was scheduled for September 17th, 2020. He was facing a charge of possession of narcotics with intent to deliver.
How long was he held at the detention center?
He was held at DC for 7 months and 17 days. December 31, 2019 was the day that he was arrested. He has been jailed since January 1 of 2020. August 18, 2020 was the day that he was murdered.
How did the authorities communicate to you about what happened?
The authorities have yet to communicate with me about what happened to my son. I found out that my son was on life support through the hospital, Aria health (Torresdale campus). They called me while i was working and told me that my son was on life support and that i needed to get to the hospital as soon as possible.
When did they communicate and how long after the incident that injured your son did they notify you?
They notified me at approximately 1 pm on August 18, 2020. Unfortunately i am not able to tell you how long it was after the incident that ultimately claimed my son’s life because the prison still hasn't reached out to me with any information in regards to my son’s death.
Do you know exactly when this happened?
I know that it happened on Tuesday, August 18, 2020. I won't know what exact time it happened unless the prison decides to give me that information.
What do you know about the injuries to your son?
My son had a black and blue swollen left eye. He also had lacerations on his head, forehead, and mouth area. The trauma doctor also said that my son had zero brain activity and he was bleeding internally from his brain.
Did you see your son before he died? (or did anyone?)
No. The prisons aren't allowing visitors due to the national pandemic that is happening. My two sons went to say their final goodbyes to their beloved brother because me and my husband were too distraught to see our son this way.
How would you describe his physical appearance? Did you see wounds and injuries?
My son, Joshua Diaz, who works in a level 1 trauma emergency room, described my son’s injuries to me. He stated that Frankie had multiple lacerations on his head, forehead and mouth area. And that Frankie had a very noticeable swollen black and blue eye. It was clear to see that my son had been assaulted.
What is your best recollection of exactly what the authorities told you?
The authorities have still yet to speak to me or my family in regards as to what happened to my son. The hospital, on the other hand, has stated that they believe that my son passed away due to a brain aneurysm. And that "it didn't look like any foul play had taken place".
What did they say when you asked for more details? What are some of the questions about this incident that the authorities are not providing?
They simply didn't answer any of our questions. No one is responding to our phone calls or emails. We have asked many questions that were simply not answered by the jail officials. Some of the questions that we have is: How many correctional officers were working during this incident? How long after this incident did it take to get my son medical attention? Why is there only one working camera in this facility? And the biggest question that we have is who did this to Frankie?
What are some of the protest actions you have organized?
We have organized a total of four peaceful protests so far. We go down to state road, where the prison is located, with a good crowd of people and we tell my son’s story. We have made signs, we have made noise and i'd like to think that we
have made some sort of impact as many organizations have reached out to our family and 2 major news outlets have ran our story on air.
What are the demands that you are making?
I want total and complete justice to be served in my son’s name. I want the correctional officers who were supposed to be protecting the inmates to be held accountable to the fullest extent for not doing the job that they took an oath to do. I want whoever did this to my son to be charged and convicted of murder. And I want the prison system to adopt better security measures to keep prisoners safe. No parent should feel the emptiness and sadness that I am currently experiencing.
Do you believe that your son was murdered by the criminal justice system?
Yes. I believe that my son needed rehabilitation, not jail. My son has never been arrested for a violent offense in his life. He wasn't a violent person at all so I do believe that the system failed him ultimately. Their job was to protect him during his duration at that jail. They failed at their job.
What do you want to see happen now?
I want for everyone who was involved in my son’s unfortunate murder to be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law. I will not stop until justice is served in my son’s name.
How can organizations and individuals help and get involved?
Our family wants to be heard. We believe that if enough people are talking about this then we will attract the attention of city officials and hopefully that can open the door to get some justice for my son. Keep sharing.
How can they get in contact with you.?
Thank you so much for your time. God bless.