Four presumed vigilantes have been arrested in Sinaloa in connection with the public beating of alleged petty criminals in the streets of Culiacán.
The four men were arrested on the weekend during after attempting to flee a routine police and military patrol in Culiacancito.
At least one of the men had been spotted in videos on social media showing presumed vigilantes beating presumed criminals. But there are suspicions that the former are actually part of a crime gang or a rogue police unit.
A new video surfaced on the weekend. It showed a man being struck repeatedly with a wooden board, the same modus operandi and apparently the same four masked aggressors as had been seen in earlier videos. The only difference this time around was that the victim had not been stripped of his clothes.
The aggressors were wearing bulletproof vests and carrying high-caliber firearms.
The undersecretary of public security in Culiacán told the newspaper Vanguardia that what’s depicted in the videos “is not justice. Justice is served by a judge in accordance with the law . . . this is a direct aggression against another person.”
No matter how serious the crime, delinquents have human rights, continued Critóbal Castañeda Camarillo. “The police have clear instructions to respect human rights and [the videos] show a clear violation of [the victims’] individual guarantees.”
At least three of the victims have been identified by the Sinaloa state Attorney General’s office, but the men and their families have refused to file formal complaints against their attackers.
Videos of nude men being beaten publicly started to surface last August in Culiacán, Navolato and Eldorado. The perpetrators of the attacks have been called justicieros (vigilantes or avengers) by some.
Four automatic rifles, a handgun and unused magazines were found inside the luxury SUV in which the four men arrested were riding. They are now in federal custody facing charges of carrying unauthorized firearms.