HomeNewsBriefHonduras Police Massacre Points to Urgency of Reform
BRIEF

Honduras Police Massacre Points to Urgency of Reform

HONDURAS / 13 NOV 2012 BY HANNAH STONE EN

A Honduran policeman shot dead five fellow officers, a killing which police commanders said would spur on a controversial reform process meant to purge the force of corrupt elements.

On November 12, a police officer in the city of La Ceiba on Honduras’ Caribbean coast killed five of his colleagues in the offices of the DNIC, the police’s criminal investigations unit. The group had reportedly had an argument before the officer, identified as Elias Enrique Mejia Suazo, drew his gun and began shooting at close range. He was arrested immediately afterwards.

Police are investigating the theory that the agents were arguing over how to distribute between them a cache of dollars seized as evidence, according to El Heraldo.

National police chief Juan Carlos Bonilla said the incident underscored the need to continue with reforms to the country's police force. He said that the police would not hide anything during the investigation, and that, “We need to establish greater controls within the institution to avoid these unfortunate events.”

Security Minister Pompey Bonilla commented that the killing demonstrated the need for confidence tests to be performed on police officers.

InSight Crime

Juan Carlos Bonilla was appointed as police chief in May with a mandate to clean up the force. Despite allegations about his own past involvement in abuses, he has launched a forceful drive to move forward with reforms. He recently ordered the removal of 99 police officers, including 13 commissioners and 11 deputy commissioners.

Police in La Ceiba have been the focus of various corruption scandals since Bonilla took charge. Four officers accused of extortion were arrested there earlier this month, while the anti-kidnapping unit was dismissed and the commanders replaced in August over officers’ alleged kidnapping and murder of four young men.

Reform efforts have encountered significant opposition from within the police, with a group of officers launching a legal challenge, claiming that the tests violated their human rights. As IPS reported, some police commanders refuse to recognize the authority of Bonilla, as he was promoted above them despite ranking lower.

Eduardo Villanueva, head of the office for police evaluation, told IPS that “the reactions against the process merely indicate that we are on the right track.”

A version of this article was published on the Pan-American Post.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

HONDURAS / 31 AUG 2012

Honduras’s police force are sitting on more than 13,000 outstanding arrest warrants issued over the last six years, highlighting the…

BRAZIL / 21 NOV 2014

Of the world's 50 most dangerous cities, 43 are located in Latin America and the Caribbean. InSight Crime looks at…

ARMS TRAFFICKING / 19 JUL 2011

Brazil's government is considering changing the law so that contraband seized on the borders need not be stored by the…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Apure Investigation Makes Headlines

22 OCT 2021

InSight Crime’s investigation into the battle for the Venezuelan border state of Apure resonated in both Colombian and Venezuelan media. A dozen outlets picked up the report, including Venezuela’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.