The Killing of Alberto Sepulveda: An Open Letter to Barry McCaffrey

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"I
didn't think kids could get shot."
~ Sam
Climber, Jr., Modesto, California, nine years old

Dear General McCaffrey:

On September 13, 2000 an eleven year old boy named Alberto Sepulveda
was shot and killed between 6:16 and 6:21 in the morning in Modesto,
California. Unlike many recent tragedies involving children that
seem mundane, Alberto did not die at the hands of a peer. He was
killed by the State.

Alberto's father was allegedly part of a county drug ring engaged
in methamphetamine trafficking. His house was raided by SWAT team
officers as part of a federal narcotics sweep covering fourteen
houses in Stanislaus County. The participating SWAT teams included
local authorities as well as the FBI and DEA.

Federal agents with drug warrants were preceded by seven officers.
The officer who shot Alberto was David Hawn, a SWAT veteran of almost
two decades. Alberto died from an apparently accidental shotgun
wound to the back – to the back. Alberto's dead body
remained in the house until after 2 p.m.

Alberto enjoyed hide-and-go-seek, water balloon fights, and riding
his bicycle. He was in the seventh grade and had two siblings.

Is
this what the War on Drugs has come to, General McCaffrey? How many
more children need to die for the verboten commerce of their fathers?

September
18, 2000

Myles
Kantor is a law student at Stetson University.

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