A 30-year-old man who was arrested in Jalisco last month for not wearing a face mask was beaten to death by municipal police officers, says his brother.
Christian López told the news website Latinus that his brother Giovanni López, a construction worker, was arrested in the municipality of Ixtlahuacán de los Membrillos on May 4 for not wearing a face mask amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“The policemen came to carry out a raid to arrest people who did not have face masks. We were going to dinner and they came and assaulted us,” he said.
“My brother was grabbed by like 10 policemen, myself as well, but I managed to get away and he was being beaten, tortured, choked there. At that moment I started recording,” López said.
López said that he later went to the local police station to ask about his brother but was only told that he was in hospital.
Giovanni López died the next day from a traumatic brain injury, according to his death certificate. He had also been shot in the foot, the newspaper Reforma reported.
Ixtlahuacán Mayor Eduardo Cervantes Aguilar said that an investigation is underway to determine what happened.
“We’re carrying out the necessary steps to shed light on this regrettable incident, [my] government always has and will continue to be a fair one,” he said.
Christian López claimed that through a third party the mayor offered his family 200,000 pesos (US $9,125) not to publish the video he recorded of the police aggression, which has since circulated on social media and news websites.
He also said that Cervantes threatened to kill members of his family should the video come to light. The mayor has rejected the claims.
“At no time did I offer 200,000 pesos or any amount in exchange for the silence of the family members, nor did I threaten them. On the contrary, from the beginning and until today I have instructed my municipal agencies to provide all the information to the state Attorney General’s Office,” he said.
“In my municipal government we do not tolerate police brutality, abuse of authority, and much less serious violations of human rights, such as deprivation of life,” Cervantes said.
Speaking on Thursday, Jalisco Governor Enrique Alfaro described the man’s death as an “atrocity” and said that a state government investigation is underway.
Alfaro said his government will apply the “full weight of the law” to whoever is responsible for Giovanni López’s death.
“What happened in Ixtlahuacán de los Membrillos is an atrocity, a product of the actions of municipal authorities. It has to be clarified that there was no participation of state police,” he said.
Meanwhile, the alleged murder of African American man George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota, last week, and the widespread protests it triggered, has placed renewed focus on another incident of police brutality in Mexico that resulted in a death.
In Tijuana, Baja California, a homeless man died on March 27 after two police officers arrested him at a gas station. A video of the incident shows one officer holding the handcuffed man down by stepping on his neck while the other placed his knee on his back until he stopped breathing.
The deceased man, Oliver López, had been throwing rocks at people at the gas station, according to a police statement. Baja California Governor Jaime Bonilla said on Twitter on Tuesday that there will be no impunity in the case.
The two officers have been stood down while an investigation takes place.
Police in San Pedro Garza García, Nuevo León, are also alleged to have acted aggressively toward citizens. Residents of the San Pedro 400 neighborhood were allegedly beaten by police after they were called out to a street brawl early Sunday morning.
The police aggression, like the two other incidents, was captured on video. A complaint against the police has been filed with the Nuevo León Attorney General’s Office.