April 23, 2014
CELS human rights groupTuesday, February 11, 2014
Lawsuits filed against seven police chiefs over park deaths
The CELS (Centre for Legal and Social Studies) human rights organization initiated the court proceedings against the police chiefs when it presented the case to Judge Mónica Berdión de Crudo.
“The evidence against three of the police chiefs is very strong,” said CELS lawyer Federico Efron, who is heading the investigation. He told the Herald that one of them had been monitoring the whole eviction from a video command station while the two others were conducting the operation.
These officers are Federal Police Inspectors Hugo Lompizano, who at that time was Operations Chief and was later removed from the force, Juan Quintero and Emilio Miragaya, who are accused of ordering the officers under them to carry out the illegal actions. Along with this top brass, the lawsuits also charge 25 Metropolitan and eight Federal Police officers with taking lethal action when they fired lead bullets at people allegedly squatting in the Indo-American park.
More than 200 Federal and 250 Metropolitan Police officers were estimated to have participated in the operation on December 7, 2010.
Efron complained that the Metropolitan Police forces had not fully co-operated with their investigation, “the answers they gave to our inquiries were incomplete, much of their information was contradictory, making the process very difficult.” On the other hand, the Federal Police did not interfere with the investigation and were helpful, said the CELS lawyer.
This was one of the factors why it took two years to file the charges said Efron. Around 68-69 police officers were under investigation but finally only half had charges filed against them. The human rights organization stated it has evidence that “the Metropolitan Police worked in co-ordination with the Federal Police chiefs in their violent and uncontrolled use of lethal force,” said the press release published yesterday.
CELS is representing the family of Rosemary Chura Puña, a 24-year-old Bolivian woman who was killed in the operation. The three people who died and five of the wounded were not in the Indo-American Park when the operation took place, stated Efron.
“They were on the side of the park watching what was happening,” said Efron.
The lawsuit accuses police force members of not using uniforms, the use of chemical irritants and firing anti-riot ammunition.
“This is not the only case of police brutality, it represents a habit of the scant self-control the police force has displayed many times in the past,” concluded the CELS lawyer.