Saturday, August 7, 2010
Federal Police Mutiny in Ciudad Juarez
Video courtesy of KINT)
Federal police officers beat fellow police inspector Salomn Alarcn Olvera, aka "El Chaman" after accusing him of being linked to drug cartels and having participated in kidnappings, executions and extortions in Ciudad Juarez, northern Mexico, Saturday, Aug. 7, 2010. Around 200 federal police officers protested Saturday demanding Alarcon's dismissal. (AP Photo/Raymundo Ruiz)
The extreme stress generated from constant attacks on federal police in Ciudad Juarez and the pressures and alleged mistreatment from comandantes (commanders) erupted today when more than 200 federal policemen held a violent demonstration outside the hotel serving as their barracks.
The demonstration began at 8:30 AM when the unit of 200 men rebelled and demanded the release of one of their fellow policemen, Victor Manuel D’Cid, who was placed under arrest by orders of his superiors for being in possession of drugs.
The policemen also demanded the dismissal and investigation of their unit commander, Salomon Alarcon Olvera alias “El Chaman”, and his lieutenants whom they accused of corruption and having links to organized crime and of having planted drugs on D’Cid in retaliation for an earlier confrontation with the commander.
The police unit alerted the press who covered the incident as it unfolded. According to the rebellious police “El Chaman” and other unit leaders allegedly participate in the charging of “cuotas” or kickbacks of a portion of their salary to the men and women under their command.
The unit command was also accused of selling members of their units the weapons and ammunition and other supplies necessary for performing their duty, and of forcing the policemen to abuse both detainees and innocent civilians.
The men and women of the unit also told the press that they were threatened with death or arrest for possession of drugs if they did not comply with these orders.
As the day continued the mutineers chanted slogans and demanded the presence of the Commisioner General of the federal police forces, Facundo Rosas Rosas.
The unit leaders remained barricaded in their rooms but the mutineers succeeded in detaining and beating the comandante Alarcon and one of his lieutenants who were held as hostages.
Their rooms were sacked and an unspecified amount of drugs and stolen weapons were removed that the demonstrators said were used to incriminate and extort innocent victims.
At one point another unit of 100 heavily armed federal policemen entered the hotel grounds and attempted to free the hostages and disperse the demonstration but were repelled. The confrontation resulted in the injury of 6 policemen.
The demonstration finally ended this afternoon with the arrival from Mexico City of the Commisioner General, Rosas Rosas, and the settlement of an undisclosed agreement with the mutineers. Most of their demands were met and they returned to duty.
The four unit leaders, Comandante Salomon Alarcon “el Chaman”, Ricardo Duque “El Duque”, Joel Ortega and an unnamed officer were removed from their posts and will be investigated for the charges brought against them by their unit.
The officer whose arrest led to the demonstration, Victor Manuel D’Cid, was not immediately freed but the unit was promised that his case would be resolved fairly and quickly.
It said that Comandante Salomon “el Chaman” (or shaman) got his alias on account of his practice of the Santeria religion. Santeria is a religion with elements of voodoo, black magic and brujeria that is practiced by many drug traffickers in Mexico. It is especially common in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean coastal areas.
After the federal police forces returned to their task of street patrols in the afternoon hours three armed clashes with gang members were reported. One gunman and a federal policeman were reported killed and three federal policemen suffered serious wounds.
(Source material for this article was obtained from El Diario de Ciudad Juarez, the El Paso Times, Alerta Periodistica and La Polaka news)