DEADLY HIT-AND-RUN SENTENCE OF PROBATION UNJUST, STANDS WITH VICTIM’S FAMILYLatino civil rights organization calls for tougher penalties when a victim is killed, especially when the perpetrator leaves the scene of the accident without care for the victim.

DES MOINES, Iowa – Probation and a fine is not justice for the death of Ema Cardenas and her family according to the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) of Iowa.

 Cardenas was killed by Terra Flipping, 38, in a hit-and-run accident while walking home from East High School in April this year. Flipping admitted to being the driver at the scene, but then left and drove home without calling 911, leaving her name, or making any attempt to help Ema. On Wednesday Flipping appeared in court, plead guilty to leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death and was merely sentenced to probation and a $1200 fine for her lethal act. LULAC Iowa state leadership says this is not justice.

 “We do not agree with the judge’s decision. When you hit a child and leave the scene without even trying to help and the child dies, there should be real consequences,” stated LULAC Iowa Political Director Joe Enriquez Henry. “Probation and a fine are not enough. There should be tougher penalties for the loss of life, and we believe the prosecutor should have met with Ema’s family.”

 Though Flipping’s charges carried a maximum sentence of five years in prison, attorneys on both sides of the case recommended probation. Henry says Ana Campos, Ema’s mother was shocked by the lack of communication as well as the slap-on-the-wrist sentence. LULAC Iowa has worked to support Campos in her efforts to improve safety for students and bring light to the circumstances surrounding her daughter’s death.

This, along with other recent events and tragedies in the Des Moines Latino community, have raised concerns about equality, prejudice, and race relations in the area. Henry says LULAC Iowa continues to work to educate and advocate for minorities in Iowa; that our leaders need to pay attention to bias and that even the appearance of racism in our judicial system is unacceptable.


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