Eleven Mexico City transit police officers have been suspended after they were caught on video in an altercation on Friday evening with cyclists protesting the deaths of fellow riders.
The video of the chaotic incident showed several officers targeting individual cyclists and punching and kicking them while they were restrained.
After Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum instructed Police Chief Omar García Harfuch to investigate, the 11 officers, including four commanders, were suspended Satruday pending further analysis by the police department’s office of internal affairs.
García said the investigation is looking into whether additional officers besides the 11 who were suspended had assaulted civilians and that that any found to have attacked demonstrators would be fired.
Several cyclists were injured and needed treatment on the scene by paramedics. On a video captured by the ForoTV network and circulated widely on social media, several police officers could be seen running at cyclists to restrain them, then punching them and throwing some to the ground and kicking them.
¿Qué decías que no volvería a ocurrir en la CDMX, @PPmerino?
Repudio la salvaje represión de @Claudiashein contra ciclistas.
¡Que los abusos y excesos policiacos NO queden impunes!
Espero ver a la @CDHCMX haciendo su trabajo.
— Fernando Belaunzarán (@ferbelaunzaran) February 6, 2021
The cyclists were riding as a group in the Nápoles neighborhood of the city as part of a demonstration for greater safety for cyclists, protesting recent deaths of fellow biking enthusiasts.
The confrontation occurred as the cyclists attempted to access the second level of Mexico City’s Anillo Periférico beltway, which is prohibited to bicyclists. After police prevented the cyclists from getting onto the highway, the situation on the street escalated.
The road remained closed for a long period afterward so that paramedics could treat the injured.
Sheinbaum, who called for the officers involved to be fired, said that some of the demonstrators did assault police. However, she said, the officers’ behavior was “unacceptable.”
“At no time can we have the aggression that we saw on the video by officers toward protesters,” Sheinbaum said. “It’s for things like this that much training has been done with the police. It’s about containing, not assaulting [civilians], but in this case, there was police action that shouldn’t have happened.”