Plan to rename portion of Dallas street after Santos Rodriguez fails

DALLAS - A plan was discussed to rename a stretch of road in Dallas after 12-year-old Santos Rodriguez, who was killed by a police officer 50 years ago.

About a dozen Dallas residents made their voices heard about the name change proposal during public comment.

All but one spoke out against changing a portion of Jim Miller Road to Santos Rodriguez Road.

In the end, the commission agreed with them.

It was a senseless murder that took a young life and put a stain on the city of Dallas.

The date was July 24, 1973.

Rodriguez was shot and killed by then Dallas police officer Darrell Cain.

Cain shot the 12-year-old while playing Russian roulette with the boy in an attempt to get him to confess to stealing $8 from a vending machine.

Cain was convicted of murder and served half of a five-year prison sentence.

At a City of Dallas Plan Commission meeting Thursday, committee members considered a proposal brought forth by three council members to rename part of Jim Miller Road, Santos Rodriguez Road.

"We all sympathize with that happened to Mr. Rodriguez," Yolanda Williams said.

The plan involves a six-mile stretch of Jim Miller Road in Pleasant Grove, between I-30 and Loop 12 Great Trinity Forest Way.

But opponents said they don't want their neighborhoods tarnished by the police murder that happened many miles across town.

"I’d rather see these streets in my neighborhood associated with something positive and accomplishments of success," Jeffrey King said.

"It will stigmatize our area with memorializing police violence," Linda Palawn said.

City staff told committee members the council members who filed the request for a name did not give a reason as to why that stretch of road.

Staff also said it would cost the city upwards of $3 million in money, which staff said the transportation department doesn't have.

The only person at the meeting who spoke in favor of the name change was an attorney representing the Rodriguez family.

"Kind of signifies a path forward for diverse populations and inclusion," Mike Laux said.

But he added that the family was not consulted about the proposal.

"In terms of the specifics, why that particular street, I'm afraid I don't know the answer to that question," Laux added.

"I hear almost unanimous feedback from the community that while they are in support of making a street name in his honor, this is not the correct place to do it," one committee member said.

And with that, the commission voted unanimously to squash the proposal.

Those same council members could bring forth another proposal to change a street name in the area where the murder happened.