Eighty Mexico City police officers are under investigation for excessive use of force in a México state neighborhood early Monday morning.
Videos circulating on social media show police punching and kicking people on the street in San Juan Ixhuatepec, a neighborhood in the municipality of Tlalnepantla, which borders the capital.
They also allegedly broke windows of houses and businesses in the neighborhood and damaged cars as well.
The police had arrived in San Juan Ixhuatepec in pursuit of four men who allegedly committed a robbery at a gas station in the Mexico City borough of Gustavo A. Madero.
After arresting one suspected criminal, “taxi drivers from the state of México and civilians” attacked police in an attempt to free him, Mexico City police chief Raymundo Collins said.
San Juan Ixhuatepec residents blocked the Mexico City-Pachuca highway for 20 hours Monday to protest against what they claimed was excessive use of force by officers.
Mexico City Mayor José Ramón Amieva yesterday acknowledged that police had committed abuses but ruled out dismissing Collins, as residents are demanding.
“Here the issue is to impart justice and the dismissal [of Collins] would be an injustice. What we’re doing is investigating in order to impose sanctions,” he said.
Amieva pledged that victims of a “crime [or] abuse” committed by police will be directly compensated by the Mexico City government.
For his part, Collins made it clear that he wouldn’t step down voluntarily.
He said that among his roles as police chief are to guarantee citizens’ safety and support officers when they come under attack, as allegedly happened in Tlalnepantla.
The Mexico City Secretariat of Public Security (SSP), whose internal affairs department is conducting the investigation into the 80 police officers, said yesterday that 90% of those involved in the San Juan Ixhuatepec operation had been interviewed.
However, no officers have been arrested.
The México state Attorney General’s office (FGJEM) has received 63 criminal complaints from residents who alleged that they had been injured by Mexico City police or that their property had been damaged.
The FGJEM has asked the SSP to supply it with a list of the names of the officers involved in the alleged incidents with a view to conducting its own interviews with them.
The Attorney General’s office also said it will seek to interview the commander of the operation and that its investigation will require security camera footage from state and municipal authorities as well as private citizens and businesses.
Officials from the Mexico City and Tlalnepantla governments visited San Juan Ixhuatepec to assess damage caused to cars and homes.
Their records will be submitted to investigators.
Source: El Universal (sp)