Georgia Man Shoots and Kills Latino 22-Year-Old For Pulling Into Wrong Driveway; Gets $500 Fine and Probation

Unequal treatment before the law has become a hot topic in a country reeling from cases like those of Troy Davis and Michael Brown. In Georgia, yet another case has arisen of an innocent young minority man being shot to death with little punishment for his killer.

In January 2013, 22-year-old Georgia Tech student Rodrigo Diaz, alongside his girlfriend and two other friends, pulled into a driveway in Gwinett County, Georgia, hoping to pick up a friend for skating. It turned out to be the wrong driveway. The homeowner, Phillip Sailors, emerged from the home and fired a warning shot with his .22 pistol. As Diaz began to drive away, Sailors fired again, striking Diaz in the head and killing him.

Despite these circumstances, police arrested Diaz's girlfriend and their two friends and held them overnight. This week, Sailors pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter, and will have one year of probation and be charged a $500 fine.

For their part, Diaz's family has offered forgiveness to Sailors. “There is no point for him to be in lifetime in prison,” said Diaz's brother David (Sailors is 70 years old). “Like my dad said, we don't hold any grudge.” The Diaz family has also reportedly received a settlement from Sailors and his insurance company.

But forgiveness will not bring Diaz back to life, nor will it dissuade Georgians from shooting first and asking questions later. 

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