The 248 Federal Police officers who mutinied and publicly protested alleged abuses by superiors over the weekend in Ciudad Juarez, a border city in northern Mexico, are under investigation “to determine if they engaged in irregular conduct,” the Public Safety Secretariat said.
Officers who are found to have violated the code of conduct will be subject to punishment, the secretariat said.
The officers mutinied and blocked streets in Ciudad Juarez on Saturday to protest mistreatment and corruption involving commanders.
“Appropriate channels exist for all personnel desiring to file a complaint or report an irregularity to do so in a safe and confidential manner,” the Public Safety Secretariat, which oversees the Federal Police, said.
The officers’ protest got broad coverage in the media over the weekend, especially since it occurred in Juarez, Mexico’s murder capital.
Federal police agents beat a fellow officer after a top fellow officer was detained at his hotel room by his subordinates in Ciudad Juarez, northern Mexico, Saturday, Aug. 7, 2010. Around 200 federal police officers protested Saturday demanding the dismissal of fellow police inspector Salomón Alarcón Olvera, aka "El Chaman", accusing him of being linked to drug cartels and having participated in kidnappings, executions and extortions.
Four commanders were relieved of duty by the Federal Police’s internal affairs unit a few hours after the protest and were taken to the Attorney General’s Office in Mexico City.
Prosecutors are looking into the commanders’ alleged links to organized crime groups.
The Public Safety Secretariat said it would “move immediately to dismiss” the commanders if it was determined that they committed any type of crime or “unjustified act.”
The protest started Saturday morning, when about 250 Federal Police officers blocked Adolfo Lopez Mateos and Hermanos Escobar avenues in the northern section of Ciudad Juarez, located across the border from El Paso, Texas.
Federal police officers beat fellow police inspector Salomón Alarcón 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.
The law enforcement agents gathered in front of the La Playa Hotel, where a commander allegedly linked to organized crime groups and who forced officers to extort money from people was staying.
The officers mutinied against several commanders, especially Maj. Salomon Alarcon, who they accused of “planting” arms and drugs on officers who refused to obey him, officials said.
The officers demanded Alarcon’s removal from the Federal Police, beat one of his deputies and shouted slogans against the commander.
The mutineers ended their protest after demanding that Federal Police chief Facundo Rosas meet with them to discuss the allegations.
The Public Safety Secretariat did not identify the commanders, but the Reforma newspaper reported on its Web site that Alarcon, known as “El Chaman,” Maj. Ricardo Duque Ortega, known as “El Duque,” and Maj. Joel Ortega were relieved of duty.
The fourth commander was not identified.
Ciudad Juarez, where nearly 6,000 people have been murdered since 2008, has been plagued by drug-related violence for years.
A total of 1,700 gangland killings occurred in Ciudad Juarez during the first seven months of the year, a figure that was up 47.6 percent from the same period in 2009, when 1,150 people were murdered, officials and press reports said earlier this week.
A federal police officer kicks a door open while looking for fellow police inspector Salomón Alarcón 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.
The Federal Police took control of security operations in the border city from the army on April 8 as part of a new government strategy to fight crime in Juarez.
President Felipe Calderon’s administration changed its strategy amid harsh criticism of its efforts to fight crime in the city.
Some 5,000 Federal Police officers have been deployed in Ciudad Juarez, while the army is in charge of controlling access to the border city.