Ten years ago today, Indymedia reporter Brad Will was killed while filming teacher protests in Oaxaca, Mexico. His case remains unsolved, despite calls for an investigation by members of Congress, and even a temporary delay in U.S. aid.
Bradley Roland Will (June 14, 1970 – October 27, 2006) was an American activist, videographer and journalist. He was affiliated with Indymedia. On October 27, 2006 during a labor dispute in the Mexican city of Oaxaca, Will was shot twice, possibly by government-aligned paramilitaries, resulting in his death.
Traveling under a tourist visa, Will arrived in Oaxaca in early October 2006 in order to document and film the teachers’ strike. On October 27, he was videotaping near a barricade erected by pro-strike protesters when he was shot twice. Will died while being carried from the area in search of medical help. Two others, Esteban Zurita López and teacher Emilio Alonso Fabián, were also killed. Several others were injured. 26 protesters were ultimately murdered during this mobilization.
Brad was an impassioned and committed reporter of anti-globalization protests. On May 23, 2012, Lenin Emilio Osorio Ortega was arrested for Will’s murder. Osorio maintains his innocence, claiming that testimony of witnesses was false and compelled under threats from Mexican authorities. However, on October 3 of this year, a second judge reaffirmed the determination of the original court, continuing Osorio’s detention and stating that if found guilty, he would serve thirty-five years in prison.
In October 2014, the teachers of Section 22, the independent union in southern Mexico created a memorial for Will. This week, commemorations are taking place in New York, and as far away as Freiburg, Germany where Will continues to be celebrated as an independent media activist.
Brad Will was not alone. Mexico is one of the most dangerous countries in the world to be a journalist. Since 2000, more than 100 media workers have been killed or disappeared, according to the Mexican “Freedom of Expression” website. Most of these crimes have remained unsolved, but the Committee to Protect Journalists say that in at least thirty-seven cases, the confirmed motives are related to their work as journalists.