Velázquez: publicity stunt. Velázquez: publicity stunt.

‘It was all a big show:’ Acapulco mayor sees little purpose in disarming police

On his last day in office, mayor says police had passed tests and state exams

The mayor of Acapulco has called the federal takeover of policing duties in the resort city a publicity stunt, echoing the words of a local business leader.

Evodio Velázquez Aguirre told broadcaster Milenio Televisión that the navy-led operation was carried out to execute arrest warrants against two municipal police commanders sought on homicide charges dating back to 2009, which he said he was unaware of.

He declared that executing the warrants was the sole motive for the operation but federal and state authorities seized the opportunity to disarm the entire municipal force and review all its weapons.

“It’s been a big show for the media, of intervention, and we have been supporting and coordinating at all times with the federal and state authorities,” Velázquez said.

He said he was unaware why the two commanders had not been dismissed by his predecessors.

The Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) mayor, whose three-year term ends today, said that governing Acapulco has been difficult, “mainly on security issues,” but defended his record in office.

“. . . I received a broken police force that at that time [2015] was coming out of a work stoppage and wasn’t patrolling the streets,” Velázquez said.

“The municipal police that I hand over today . . . of 1,300 officers, 85% are accredited . . . they passed their confidence tests and their state exams . . . We’ve reduced intentional homicides by 20% and we’ve come out of the 10 cities in Mexico with the highest rates of violence, according to [statistics institute] Inegi. They are hard facts,” he added.

The mayor also said that tourist security protocols adopted in Acapulco have been replicated in other resort cities including Los Cabos, Baja California, and Mazatlán, Sinaloa, and that cruise ship arrivals in the port city have increased from eight per year when he took office to 80.

Meanwhile, the city’s police chief, Max Sedano, who was also detained during Tuesday’s operation, announced yesterday that he had resigned.

He said he had been pressured into making the decision by Guerrero Attorney General Jorge Zuriel de los Santos Barilla and ministerial police chief Esteban Maldonado Palacios.

Sedano also said his office was turned upside down during the disarmament operation and that his gun, two credit cards and a bottle of perfume, among other items, were stolen.

Source: Milenio (sp) 

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