Reporting on the Mexican Cartel Drug War

Sonora Police Threaten Journalist

Wednesday, March 2, 2011 |



An incident on Paeso de Cedro blvd. occurred when a large contingent of uniformed PEI (State Police Investigators) officers arrived to the scene of a deadly shooting that left two of their fellow officers dead. An armed group of sicarios had caught the two officers by surprise when assailants pulled up in a late model truck and attempted to abduct them.

The officers resisted. The gunmen opened fire, killing them instantly. The suspects have not been apprehended at this time.

Right after the shooting, photographer Julián Ortega was on the scene to cover the story. He was taking pictures of the officers arriving in their vehicles when suddenly  the PEI officers got out of their cars and quickly swarmed Ortega, took his camera, and began to threaten him.

A picture was taken by a brave observer who had a clear vantage point and has made its way through Twitter and Facebook.

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22 Borderland Beat Comments:

Anonymous said...

Pretty sad when the murder of the 2 police officers isn't news, but a reporter getting pushed around is.
Not trying to defend the cops, but I'd knock the shit out of anyone trying to take a picture of my dead buddy too. That reporter could have been anyone, how were they to know he really was a reporter. Crime scenes are chaotic.

Buela said...

This is an amazing foto.

I just completed an informative report titled
"Silence or Death" in Mexico's Press..
Written by people such as ZETA's editor Adela Navarro and Exiled reporter Luis Horacio Najera.

It includes an excellent chapter "CARTEL CITY" about Reynosa and how CDG controls the government completely including the media.

the report is 50 pages long its this years addition and is free from CPJ.org

El_Regio said...

One thing to remember is the lack of respect and manners that the Mexican media has when conducting it's job.
I'm not excusing the officers actions, but I am also not saying the journalist is a poor innocent victim.

Anonymous said...

Two more Mexican patriots were killed and this is all that makes the news......
No wonder the Country is going to crap...
RAM

Smurf said...

I can understand that the officer's were most likely very upset about the loss of two comrades in the line of duty. However, this doesn't excuse them when they mistreat journalists, and to do so sets a very bad precedent.

The photographer is just taking pictures of a story. Perhaps he is working for a sensational rag, I don't know. But what I DO KNOW is that it isn't the officers right to strangle him like that with a camera harness.

You don't like what the photographer is doing? Tell him to leave. If he refuses to comply, arrest him. But this side-of-the-road justice is PURE BULLSHIT and wouldn't be tolerated here in the U.S.

Take TMZ for instance. I think most people agree that their photographers take things way too far when trying to goad a celebrity into a reaction for the camera. But as a society, we can't simply allow certain segments of the population the right to hit or intimidate journalists. If their is a problem of harassment, take it before the judge. But none of this tough guy macho attitude is well received by the members of the media.

Anonymous said...

Ok smurf what if one your friends or family members was murder and a reporter takes pics of the dead to try and get a sensationalize story? Believe me that so called reporter got what he deserved there have been plenty of times when the army and sicarios shoot it out...and the army tells them to leave for their safety and their BS excuse is..."were the press we have the freedom of speech." So what do the soldiers do they knock them around to teach them a lesson. I swear like they can't show any manners and have to be rude, the freakin press feels like they are above the law.

Anonymous said...

10:46 That'll surely increase publics trust in the law enforcement officers and soldiers and please just stop with "bah gawd if it happened to you"

Anonymous said...

I agree with smurf and I'll extrapolate one step further. It is this 'extra-judicial' punishment attitude that has gotten Mexico into such trouble. There is no hope of the government bringing justice and the corruption is so rampant that people feel justified in going extrajudicial for punishment. This sets a bad precedent and we see the effects of decades of this attitude becoming ingrained in the macho culture. The eventual conclusion of all this is that society will devolve to the point where everyone feels justified in punishing everyone else, each person cop, judge, jury, and executioner. Unfortunately they do this without training, just going on emotion and the cycle will feed on itself forever or until everyone is dead.

Anonymous said...

PS. In the photo it doesn't look like they were trying to hang him, one cop has his hands immobilized and the other is taking the camera off of him, the guy is stretching his neck to make it easier to take off it looks like. They shouldn't have done this but they don't look like they are being violent toward him.

Buela said...

Before you speak please learn the story about reporters in Mexico, the ,most dangerous place in the world to be a reporter. Also know there is corruption among police even at state and federal level. we complain because the truth is not published in the Mx media, yet now complaints against the reporter which there is no indication he did anything wrong. Taking pics? of arriving police? or dead police? just another day in paradice, not a big deal. usually at these scenes there are a dozen or more people taking videos with their cells.

once again I highly recommend the report I referred to earlier. Learn bothe sides before you speak.

Anonymous said...

Smurf, you can't put yourself in the cops shoes? You've no empathy for them?

Mr. I-was-just-doing-my-job should have realized what the situation was before he started taking photos. Maybe show a little deference. "I've got a right to do my job" has gotten US media punched out too. You can be right and still be wrong. Journalism is not always noble and holy.

Anonymous said...

Smurf, how do you know they didn't tell him to leave and he didn't comply? You are looking at a snapshot, you don't know what took place before or after. It looks like he is being handcuffed to me. Which would be perfectly reasonable if he was walking around at the scene of a major crime, until his identity and legitimacy is determined.

Anonymous said...

@Buela Thanks for this information its looks like a real excellent piece of work and information for those that dont see the real picture from the US. You think I can get any more information thats related to this? via email or something? Thx.

Anonymous said...

Seems to me that all there doing is arresting him. And the other guy taking his camera. WTF is wrong with that?

@Buela
You forgot to mention that most of these so called reporters killed also take bribes or were working for some criminal organization!! Did you mentioned that? I think not.

Anonymous said...

I tried to take pictures at a large military reten in San Luis Potosi several years ago. The object was for a free lance article to show tourists that it was no sweat passing through these things. I asked the soldier who inspected me if it was ok and he said he didn't see why not, so I pulled trough and parked and started back with my camera. An officer charged out of a building with his rifle ready, wanting to know what I was up to. I told him and for a minute I thought this same thing might happen to me.Right pronto I showed immediate respect and cooperation and was allowed to leave but without any pictures so my masterpiece article was never written

Smurf said...

11:32

Look, I definitely see your point, if I was close to the situation, it is possible i would have reacted in a similar fashion as the police officers. Let me tell you a story.

A while back I wrote up a piece about someone whose murder included pics. Someone close to that person was very upset about the pictures as well as some of the comments. The incident has since made me think twice about just posting some of these graphic pictures. For instance, I try not to post something graphic if it has no pertinent info, if its gore for gore's sake, I leave that type of sensationalism to the narco blogs.

So I get it... When people die, those close to them will be VERY upset if the pics are taken or published.... but sometimes it is necessary to do so for the greater good.. namely, so we don't have a closed society (like Pakistan for example) were journalism is akin to terrorism and treason.

Journalists are executed in Mexico for doing their job: this is an irrefutable fact. in light of this, we cannot give police the benefit of the doubt when a picture like this arises.

Smurf said...

11:37

i don't know that, but hten again neither do you... I will agree the way the pic was taken, it looks like either his camera is being lifted... But the guy who is holding his arms and the fella standing next to him don't look happy...

We cannot assume the police' innocence, nor the journalists guilt of trespassing.

Anonymous said...

I don't know why people say Mexico is a beautiful country, it's one of the worst and most violent. It's a terrible place to be.

Tiso said...

Lol look at all these people jumping to the defense of the police in mexico all of a sudden! Most of these cops are in league with the narcos. Running around killing and kidnapping in uniform. And when they get upset at a journalist, we are supposed to forget out suspicions and imagine they are grieving for their friend? The reason most cops in mexico dont want their picture taken is because they are often doing something illegal. And i dont mean illegal as in taking a bribe, im talking about murders and kidnappings. Id say that in the case of mexico and its corruption and propensity for violent crime, lets continue to take photographic evidence whenever we can, and if your a grieving friend or relative simply looking for respect for the dead, your probably in the minority.

Anonymous said...

Hey idiots. It's just as dangerous to be a reporter in Mexico as a cop. And you don't know what the guy was shooting pictures of. And don't half you guys always complain that the local muni cops are in on the crime and corrupt anyway? Sheesh.

Anonymous said...

From the article: "He was taking pictures of the officers arriving in their vehicles.."

I dunno about you guys, but that sounds stupid as hell. What was the reporter thinking? He either takes pics of narco cops and gets himself killed... Or he takes pics of some straight cop and now that cop's face is in the newspaper.

Anonymous said...

Could have been alot worse.
Z could have picked him up for taking pictures, cut him to pieces and left him in the middle of town. Those cops may have saved his ass.

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