Mexico: Who killed Brad Will?


Members of the Oaxaca People's Popular Assembly (APPO) try to help US cameraman Brad Will after he was shot, in Oaxaca, Mexico, Oct. 27, 2006. Will and a teacher were shot dead during violent uprisings. Mexico authorities announced Wednesday the arrest of a new suspected killer.



US activist journalist Brad Will went to Oaxaca, Mexico to document the raucous protests erupting in the streets. He ended up recording his own death. That was in October 2006.

On Wednesday, Mexican authorities said they have arrested a suspected murderer in Will’s killing.

“We are carrying out an order of arrest of Lenin Ovidio Osorio Ortega as a suspect in the homicide of the journalist Brad Will,” Jaciel Vasquez, state investigation agency commander told CNNMexico.com.

The Oaxaca protesters blame Will’s shooting on government-backed thugs. But in 2008, Mexican authorities announced they arrested two members of the protest movement accused of being behind the murder.

The supposed gunman was named Juan Manuel Martinez. Most people doubted he was the killer.

Amnesty International wrote:

The tragedy and injustice of Brad Will’s death and Juan Manuel Martínez’s unfounded prosecution are part of the failure to investigate and hold to account those responsible for widespread human rights violations committed in Oaxaca in 2006 and 2007.

Martinez was freed 16 months after his arrest when a court ruled there was no evidence linking him to the killing, Spanish news wire EFE reports.

The slain journalist had been on location for an alternative New York-based news outfit called Independent Media Center.

After his death, the Village Voice published an intimate portrait of Will. That article touched on tough questions for journalists in every corner of the globe. Especially, how far should you go to get the story? Worse, how do you avoid becoming the story?

"Brad was one of these young activists I met coming to New York in the early '90s who were very brave and high-minded, and also willing to take risks and make sacrifices that kind of startled me," Seth Tobocman, publisher of the radical zine World War 3 Illustrated, told the Voice. "He was schooled in the Earth First philosophy of putting your life on the line. Part of the training is that these 400-year-old trees are harder to replace than a human being. Your life is less important than the environment you're saving."

Followers of this saga will undoubtedly have many more questions after this recent arrest. A website dedicated to Will’s case, Friendsofbradwill.org, has already blogged about the latest arrest.

"There was a new arrest in Oaxaca last night, of Lenin Osorio Ortega,
allegedly involved in Brad’s killing– there is a press conference
there TODAY, taking place @ 13:30 Oaxaca time, in front of the offices
of La Experimental.
Not sure whether this might be another frame-up or not," Friendsofbradwill.org wrote Wednesday.