PITTSFIELD, Mass. (NEWS10) — Chanting in both English and Spanish “justice for Miguel”, demonstrators filled the streets of Pittsfield Sunday for 22-year old Miguel Estrella.
“What’s so significant about this is because Miguel was so loved by so many,” says Anaelise Jacobson of Man’s Unidas and a friend of the family, “it’s impossible to silence us and we won’t be silenced.”
Two weeks after Estrella’s death, his family still has many questions about what happened, especially Estrella’s mother Marisol. Speaking in her native Spanish and translated with the help of Jacobson, Marisol says, “he was a youth like so many of our youths, who just asked for help. He was in crisis and instead was met with violence.”
On the night of March 25, a concerned friend called 911. Pittsfield Police responded to the apartment of Estrella’s girlfriend, Daneya Falwell. Estrella had been heavily drinking and was self-harming with a knife, Falwell told NEWS10 in an interview. She also says Miguel had suffered from a mental illness.
When officers arrived, they took the knife from Estrella and left him in the care of his girlfriend after he refused medical treatment. The officers then left. Just a few minutes later, according to Falwell, she called 911 for an ambulance to take Estrella to a hospital. Instead, police arrived again.
According to a Pittsfield Police press release, the two officers, who have not been publicly identified, claim Estrella “advanced on the officers” with a knife in his hand. One of the officers tried to subdue Miguel with a taser, and when that did not work, the other officer fired his service weapon.
“You’ve got to stand for something or die for nothing. Miguel died for nothing. My little brother died for nothing,” a friend of Estrella announced into a megaphone in front of Pittsfield city hall.
The Pittsfield Police Department declined to comment and is referring all questions to the Berkshire County District Attorney’s Office.