Two women went into hiding after allegedly being beaten, threatened, robbed and tortured last Sunday by police officers in Nezahualcóyotl near Mexico City.
In an interview with the newspaper Milenio, 26-year-old Alexia Ortiz described their ordeal. “We are devastated,” she said after 10 police officers beat her and her friend Jhoany Álvarez for 15 to 20 minutes.
Ortiz says she watched as officers in the next room stepped on Álvarez’s stomach, knocking the wind out of her, and repeatedly beat her. When the officers realized Ortiz was observing what they were doing, she said, one of them threatened to kill her.
Police Chief Jorge Amador acknowledged that there was excessive force used and has begun an internal affairs investigation but denies that the women were beaten and tortured.
Security camera footage captured the moment in the early hours of Sunday when the young women were stopped by police as they walked the city’s streets with three other friends.
Two patrol vehicles rolled up and after Álvarez’s bag was searched a scuffle ensued, and Ortiz was forcefully knocked to the ground by an officer. According to Amador, that was the extent of the violence experienced by the women, who were ultimately cited for disturbing the peace.
“There in the video you can see a reprehensible action by one of the officers. There is no other type of violence,” he said.
Ortiz says it all began minutes earlier when Álvarez was stopped by a police officer for speeding and got in an argument with him, after which she parked her truck and walked away with her friends.
The officer returned with another police unit as backup, she says, and detained the two women.
Ortiz also says the policewoman who searched Alvarez’s bag stole 11,000 pesos.
Then, “they all started to attack us,” Ortiz said. “That is when the police officer takes his left arm, grabs me by the neck, pulls me and throws me to the ground.”
The women, who were at first presumed missing, went into hiding after their release from custody for fear that police will make good on their threats to rape or kill them.
“We were scared, and we are hidden because the police have our addresses, so we are afraid that they will do something to us, for the same reason that they threatened us with death,” she says.
And while the bruises have begun to fade, the memories of their ordeal have not. “Psychologically, we are shattered. There’s no more. We are shattered.”