Wednesday, June 19, 2024

4 police officers charged with murder of young man in Veracruz

Four municipal police officers face homicide charges after a 27-year-old father was killed in Veracruz on Friday, provoking an angry response from locals.

The Veracruz Attorney General’s Office said that four male officers are accused of murdering Brandon Arellano Cruz in Lerdo de Tejada, a municipality about 100 kilometers south of Veracruz city.

Brandon Arellano Cruz was shot by police during a traffic stop. (Social media)

A judge ruled that the police must remain in custody as they await trial.

Arellano — who was reportedly mistaken for a thief — was shot after officers ordered him to stop his vehicle, according to the victim’s father. Delfino Arellano Ramírez, a teacher, said that his son continued driving before parking his car outside his grandmother’s house. Arellano Cruz was shot in the head and neck while he was still in his vehicle and died immediately.

“After having been chased by municipal police he arrived here to this address … and they shot him with two bullets,” Arellano Ramírez said, adding that his son was the father of a six-year-old boy and a two-year-old girl.

In light of the shooting, residents detained the officers and set two police cars on fire. They reportedly attempted to lynch the officers by beating them. But the officers weren’t killed and were eventually arrested and taken away by state police.

Angry residents set fire to a municipal vehicle in response to the killing. (Francisco Elvira/X)

Residents — who denounced frequent abuses of power by municipal police — later set the Lerdo de Tejada municipal palace and a local government vehicle on fire.

César Maldonado Ramírez, a local, told the El Financiero newspaper that residents are “tired” of the abuses committed by municipal police and that “the people need justice.”

According to residents, police frequently detain people and plant drugs on them before demanding an on-the-spot payment. Lerdo de Tejada locals also accuse municipal police of beating some residents.

Arellano Cruz was buried at the Lerdo de Tejada municipal cemetery on Sunday. His mother told the news website La Silla Rota that she now feared for her own life.

“If [municipal police] were capable of taking one piece of my life, they could take another piece of my life or put an end to my life. … I fear for my personal safety,” Érika Cruz said.

Veracruz Governor Cuitláhuca García announced Monday that the National Guard and the army had assumed temporary control of security in Lerdo de Tejada, a coastal municipality with a population of around 20,000.

With reports from Aristegui Noticias, La Jornada, El Financiero, López-Dóriga Digital and La Silla Rota

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