Today we will discuss the murder of Journalist Luis Manuel Medina. The information available to us on the case we will discuss today, is limited. It has been difficult to find any sources keeping up with the investigation, or lack there of. Since it can not be known if Luis Medina was murdered because of the work he did exposing organized crime in his area or not, we wanted to acknowledge him in our dead whistle-blower series nonetheless. Perhaps those well acquainted with the specific people and organizations he exposed will be able to bring more to light as well.
On February 14, 2017, 47-year-old journalist and broadcaster, Luis Manuel Medina of Domincan Republic, was killed. While he was broadcasting a live video feed via Facebook at 103.5 HICC’s broadcasting studio, in San Pedro de Macorís, Medina was shot several times, along with the station’s manager, Leónidas Evangelista Martínez (60), who also died on the scene. Their secretary Dayana García de Hernández, (33), survived being shot in the head and in the stomach.
Medina was a member of the Círculo de Locutores Dominicanos (CLD), director of the radio station, producer of the Milenio Caliente program, president of the Association of Graduates of the Universidad Central del Este and also the official announcer for the Estrellas Orientales Baseball team. He was quite popular for debating issues including corruption within law enforcement, politics, and businesses AKA: organized crime or mafia.
Independent journalism has been the subject of agitation for politicians and many have received threats from organized crime. Harassment, physical attacks and even death threats are common for those speaking out against crime and politics. Several firefights in San Pedro de Macorís’ Miramar sector occurred during that time.
Some stories claim that the gunman was identified from CCTV footage as 59-year-old José Rodríguez, and was then believed to have murdered Martinez and Medina. Other reports state that two individuals entered the studio. Further reports state three men were arrested, but not charged. Local media later reported that the gunman appeared to have acted alone, entering the radio station, which is located inside a shopping center, and opening fire without warning. Shots and shouting can be heard on the live feed, which was cut when Medina stood up to see what was happening, just before his death.
Police were quick to state that they believe the shooting was a personal vendetta, and not an attack on journalism. When the event occurred, many media outlets and journalists reported their concern that the case would not be investigated but rather covered up by the police as has happened many times before. Police have described their suspect, Jose Rodriguez, as a violent drug addict who had been deported from the US…claims his family have denied. He died under unclear circumstances. Rodriguez killed himself, according to police, who were chasing him, after they suspected him for murdering the two reporters.
However, witnesses say Rodriguez was killed during a gunfight with the police, that lasted several minutes, close to the city’s fire station. No information has been given as to how many bullet wounds Rodríguez had sustained. Though all who knew him report that he was a gentle and polite man, Rodríguez’s family later claimed that he went after Medina and Martínez due to their involvement in an allegedly fraudulent land scheme, resulting in a major loss of money for Rodríguez.
Main Stream Media Outlet, Hoy Digital is claiming that mysterious police sources have told them that Martinez’s son, Leonidas Antonio Evangelista Pijuán, would have obtained ownership of Rodriguez land after buying it from the CEA. When Rodriguez learned that the Martinez’s would become owners of the land he was upset and demanded that Leo Martinez return the money Rodriguez had invested in the property. Hoy Digital also claims that Garcia, having been shot several times, regained consciousness momentarily and was able to identify the shooter as Rodriguez, before she passed out again.
*Note: These claims could not be verified by any other source, that we were able to find. The timing Hoy Digitals events took place do not seem to fit with any other reports from any other news sites.
10 of the 17 journalists murdered in 2016 in Latin America worked for radio stations, said Reporters Without Borders on February 13, 2017 on World Radio Day, the day before Medina and Martinez were murdered. In two of those cases, they were attacked live on air. In 2016, more than 200 people died at the hands of police in extrajudicial killings, according to the National Commission of Human Rights. More Here.
Fausto Rosario, the editor of the Acento, told the Guardian:
“The extrajudicial murder of suspects is very common here. And when this happens, investigations are closed.”
This is how it goes…much like this one. After the police were able to pick and murder an easy suspect. We know how this world works by now. We know the police are always involved in covering up the hits of the mafia. We know the mafia runs everything. We know that Luis Medina spoke out openly and honestly about the organized crime in his country, and more, and it was also well known that he had many enemies in politics and other branches of the mafia. His two children are now orphans, left to the mercy of the system that likely killed his father.
There seems to be no investigation into Medina, but only into the Martinez/Rodriguez land dispute. With the medias focus solely on Martinez, and no one questioning the other suspects, or investigating the case further, As more than one person was killed during this, both sides should be investigated without bias, or there is no legal justice being done.
Medina may be just another freedom fighter dying for truth.
Another human being slaughtered without a sound.