Hours after the killing of a commander of the Municipal Public Security Ministry, officers of all police agencies were threatened by a message written on the wall of an elementary school. The message threatened retaliation against police officers for working with the army and allegedly supporting the cartel of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman.
The lawman, identified as Noel Rosales Martinez, 35, was shot dead yesterday morning with high-powered weapons, as he drove his truck down the avenue Francisco Villarreal Torres, at the intersection of Sorgo Street.
The incident alerted police agencies, especially the city police whose officers were instructed to "keep their guard up" to prevent further attacks.
With this death, the number of police of officers killed in Juarez and in the surrounding state of Chihuahua has so far reached to 58 in 2009. 21 of them have been municipal police officers, according to statistics maintained by the Justice of the Deputy Attorney of the Northern States.
The list does not include 3 elements of the Federal Police executed in the municipality of Buenaventura, in the northwest region of the state last month.
Not long after the execution yesterday, narco messages appeared around the city signed by the organization calling itself "La Línea".
"This is going to happen to all the cops at all levels of government if they continue to support "El chapo" or help the military. Att Línea," The message written in capital letters as graffiti on a wall around noon forced the military and municipal police to mobilize in to action.
The message was written on the side of a wall on a Cuauhtemoc Elementary School, located on the street of Tlaxcala and Anahuac in the neighborhood of Cuauhtemoc. This is the same place where a week ago local authorities had removed a similar message.
Earlier last week there was an attack against the commander Luis Prieto of the state Public Safety Department, where one of his bodyguards was killed and a few days ago local police officer Jaime Garcia Moreno, 37, belonging to the recent police academy was gunned down inside a business located in the streets Paquimé Palace and Palace of Tikal.
Yesterday Major Noel Rosales Martinez, 35 years old, was shot and killed with assault weapons as he drove his Ford Explorer in the neighborhood of Juarez Nuevo. At the crime scene investigators collected 43 spent shell casings of .223 caliber and 7.62 x 39 mm, typically used on AR-15 and AK-47 rifles (known as "cuerno de chivo"). The slain officer had just a little over a year of employment with the police agency and was the commander in charge of the police station in Cuauhtemoc. He was killed as he finished his work day and was on his way home. After the murder, members of the Municipal Public Police remained silent about the incident. All day the news media was attempting to get an official statement from the agency but the authorities declined comment and appeared to be hurt over the incident..
Secretariat spokesman, Jacinto Segura Garnik, said Rosales Martinez joined the police agency in 2008 and his service record did nor show any arrests or serious misconduct in the performance of his duties.
Mayor José Reyes Ferriz said yesterday that he advised the Public Security Secretary, Julian David Rivera Breton, to increase security measures for the commanding officers of the police agencies.
"It's a situation that worries us, we will be working on security measures. This situation indicate that we must take and redouble security measures for the police agencies, especially for commanders," he said.
He said that the authorities in the city of Juarez did not have any knowledge that the commander had been threatened, and said he did not have any past military experience, and had no personal security escort.
"He had recently been appointed commander of the night shift," he added. "He was a veteran police officer with seniority, and for his seniority he had been appointed commander of operations of the night shift.
When a non ranking police officer gets executed on the streets in plain daylight hours or after a "levanton" kidnapping, it does not have the same type of impact as it does in the US when a police officer is killed in the line of duty. The number just gets added to the hundreds of execution happening in Mexico on any given month. Except not until it invloves a high ranking commander, then suddenly it seems to get the attention of the politicians who now have an urgent need to so something about it.
The mayor said while he has attempted to provide better security to all commanders of the municipal police agency, "today it became clear that in the case of the commander, we did not succeed, and he we must be very conscious of protecting the ranking commanders."
So subsequently we start to see a need to actually protect the protectors. The drug cartels have made it a point to target rival members of organized crime and the police.
This whole thing of police insecurity needs to be evaluated to ensure the safety not just of the public, but also of the police officers who at minimum need the resources to protect themselves before they can actually protect anyone else.
Some of these executions of police officers are brutal. The officers are usually killed while they are off duty and in the lower ranks they are pretty much on their own. They usually are not armed while off duty and most are just sitting ducks waiting to be picked off by sicarios (hitmen) among the general populace.
Most of these officers are executed with high caliber assault rifles, and the obvious reality is that more often the sicarios have more fire power than their police targets, except perhaps for the more elite forces.
Reyes Ferriz assured that all departments of the police agency have all the necessary equipment to carry out their duties.
On the video below is the execution of a Police Chief, his wife and a uniformed officer (bodyguard) in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico while shopping at a jewelry store.
The sales lady in the white shirt takes a direct gunshot to the head.
Noticed the sicarios (hitmen) are wearing all black and are armed with assault rifles. The target was the Chief, but his wife, the sales lady and a body guard were killed in the process. One has to think that they are either former or current military or police officers.
The death of these officers is real and lethal. Just to bring it home, here is a video of a federal police officer who was executed when he was pursued by sicarios, killed inside his moving unit.