SYRACUSE, NY (WSYR-TV) - State investigators called Raul Pinet Jr.'s death a homicide
and now his family wants to make sure the case doesn't end quietly.
Pinet died in custody at the Onondaga County Justice Center while deputies were restraining him, two years ago.
"Help, that's what my brother asked for, that's what he was saying when you all beat him up for no reason," said Luz Pinet, sister of Raul Pinet Jr.
That's how Luz Pinet says her brother Raul spent the last 30 seconds his life.
Screaming and pleading for help, while laying almost motionless in a secure room in the Onondaga County Justice Center.
"He asked me for a hug and you all didn't even let me get close to my brother," said Luz Pinet.
Two years after his death, the pain is still too much to bear, especially for his father Raul Pinet Sr.
"What they did to my son in jail in the Justice Center, he was screaming like 'I need help' or 'I can't breathe' and they tried to stop my son," said Pinet Sr.
Pinet Sr. joined his family, friends, even strangers at a vigil, demanding justice for a life they say was cut short by the hands of deputies at the Onondaga County Justice Center.
"What happened to him should not have happened. It was preventable and just the fact that no one was held responsible for what happened was outrageous and blows my mind," said Ruth Beltran.
Beltran didn't know Pinet Jr., but wants to make sure he didn't die in vain.
She is fighting for change, alongside children who wrote simple messages of hope on the sidewalk, while others lit candles to shed light on those wronged by the justice system.
"If the Sheriff is unwilling or unable to punish the people responsible for these deaths, then it's time for the county to create an oversight mechanism for the policies, procedures and practices within that jail," said Barrie Gewanter of the NYCLU.
"It’s a slow case but we are still working on it. We don't stop. We are going to continue," said Pinet Sr.
The family says the Onondaga County DA Bill Fitzpatrick is reviewing reports on the case. They should know when it will be presented to a grand jury by the end of the summer.