COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – The Arreola family held a candlelight vigil on Friday, just one month ahead of a civil case involving three Columbus police officers heads to trial.
Hector Arreola died while in police custody in 2017 and GBI changed his cause of death to homicide in August 2020. The family extended the invitation to the vigil to the entire city, including law enforcement and city officials.
“Four and a half years ago Hector had a situation that led to his death… that story has not been amplified across the community,” Rodrigo Arreola, Hector’s father said. “Still a lot of people don’t know what happened and who it happened to. It’s important for us to get that message out and to have the community support us as we go forward with the trial.”
The event was held in the field by Cascade Hills Park, where family members shared their favorite memories of Hector. The Arreola family said it’s important for them to keep the memory of Hector alive, especially so close to the trial date.
“Our family has been ripped apart in so many ways… put back together as a puzzle, and we have managed to move forward,” Rodrigo Arreola said. “It’s the passion, it’s the love for Hector, it’s the love for my son that I have to fight hard for him. I can’t save his life but I can help save other sons and daughters out there… That’s my mission. And that’s our mission as the Hector Arreola foundation.”
The Hector Arreola Foundation’s purpose is to “Provide a voice and assistance in healing to the victims who have suffered the injustice of police violence.”
Attendees held their candles, sharing a moment of silence to recognize the last two minutes of Arreola’s life. The civil case is scheduled for August 9.