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Yucatán residents protest the rape and murder of José Eduardo Ravelo in Mérida. Yucatán residents protest the rape and murder of José Eduardo Ravelo in Mérida.

Local police arrested for sexual assault, murder of youth in Mérida

It's not an isolated case of police violence, protesters say

Four Mérida municipal police officers are now in custody for the rape and murder of a young man, according to an announcement by the Yucatán state governor on Saturday.

After police detained José Eduardo Ravelo, 23, on July 21 he was raped and badly beaten, leading to his death on August 3. Ravelo had recently arrived in Mérida from Veracruz, looking for a job.

The day after the attack, his mother said, Ravelo called her and told her what had happened. She traveled to be at his side as he was dying.

“In a video … the attorney general’s lawyer told me that when he was inside [the jail], you can hear screams and no one went to help him,” the victim’s mother told local media outlets.

“In our state there is no place for impunity … there will be justice,” Governor Mauricio Vila said, adding that the family had accepted help from the State Commission for Victim Services.

The murder has triggered protests by Yucatán residents and nonprofit organizations. The demonstrators rallied outside the municipal government building on Sunday.

“The police don’t protect us; they rape us, they kill us!” people chanted.

Some left flowers and candles by the building’s entrance in Ravelo’s memory.

Lawyer Adriana Quintal was one of the people who attended the protest. She said the crime was not an isolated incident.

“This is not an isolated case of violence by the police against citizens, what’s different is it’s the first case where a mother dared to rub it in their faces. In Progreso last year there were various [police murders],” Quintal said.

The federal Interior Ministry (Segob) has announced that the investigation will include an inquiry into whether discrimination based on physical appearance, age or personal identity factored into the attack on Ravelo.

With reports from Reforma

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