HomeNewsBriefMexico’s Federal Police Accused of Executing 22 in 2015 Raid
BRIEF

Mexico's Federal Police Accused of Executing 22 in 2015 Raid

HUMAN RIGHTS / 19 AUG 2016 BY DAVID GAGNE EN

Mexico's National Commission on Human Rights has determined that federal police officers executed at least 22 individuals at a ranch last year, a grim reminder that human rights abuses by the country's security forces are not limited to the military.

The commission's findings were the result of an extensive investigation (pdf) into the killing of 42 civilians and one police officer in the state of Michoacán in May 2015. According to the commission, the use of excessive force by federal police officers led to the "arbitrary execution" of 22 people, and the deaths of four others. The officers then arranged weapons to appear as if the victims were killed in a shootout, the commission said in a press conference on August 18. 

Authorities initially reported that the incident amounted to an armed confrontation between security forces and members of the Jalisco Cartel – New Generation (CJNG), and they were quick to refute the commission's recent conclusions. 

"The use of weapons was necessary and proportional against the real and imminent and unlawful aggression," said National Security Commissioner Renato Sales, who oversees the federal police. "That is to say, in our minds they acted in legitimate defense."

Federal police say they came under fire from the alleged drug traffickers, which precipitated the shootout that began at 8:00 or 8:30 a.m. But the commission's account said the officers arrived at the ranch in a "stealthy manner" as much as two hours earlier.

The CNDH determined 13 of the victims were killed while they had their backs to police. Five were shot from a helicopter that provided air support to the officers on the ground. The commission said it was unable to determine the conditions under which the other 15 victims were killed, at least in part because police altered the scene.

InSight Crime Analysis

While Mexico's military is thought to be the more frequent perpetrator of human rights abuses, the CNDH's investigation illustrates the deadly force that can be unleashed by unrestrained police. Last November, for example, the commission determined that excessive force by federal police officers resulted in the killing of at least six individuals during two related incidents in January 2015. And in September 2014, municipal police officers in the state of Guerrero kidnapped 43 students on orders from a mayor before handing them over to a local drug gang. The students are presumed dead. 

SEE ALSO: Mexico News and Profiles 

Despite growing evidence of human rights abuses, the government's immediate and defensive response to the commission's findings suggests it is unwilling to consider the consequences of its militarized approach to internal security. President Enrique Peña Nieto, who initially withdrew the military from action in some parts of the country when he took office in late 2012, has remained heavily reliant on the armed forces in the so-called "drug war" started under his predecessor, Felipe Calderon. 

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

CONTRABAND / 29 APR 2011

The head of one of Mexico’s most important business federations said recently that piracy and contraband represented a $74 billion…

EL CHAYO / 11 MAR 2014

The killing by Mexican navy commandos of bizarre Michoacan gangster Nazario "The Craziest One" Moreno will prove a short lived…

MEXICO / 15 SEP 2011

The mutilated bodies of two young people were found hanging from a pedestrian bridge in Nuevo Laredo, north Mexico, with…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Unraveling the Web of Elites Connected to Organized Crime

27 JUL 2021

InSight Crime published Elites and Organized Crime in Nicaragua, a deep dive into the relationships between criminal actors and elites in that Central American nation.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime’s Greater Focus on US-Mexico Border

20 JUL 2021

InSight Crime has decided to turn many of its investigative resources towards understanding and chronicling the criminal dynamics along the US-Mexico border.

THE ORGANIZATION

Key Arrests and Police Budget Increases Due to InSight Crime Investigations

8 JUL 2021

With Memo Fantasma’s arrest, InSight Crime has proven that our investigations can and will uncover major criminal threats in the Americas.

THE ORGANIZATION

Organized Crime’s Influence on Gender-Based Violence

30 JUN 2021

InSight Crime investigator Laura N. Ávila spoke on organized crime and gender-based violence at the launch of a research project by the United Nations Development Programme.

THE ORGANIZATION

Conversation with Paraguay Judicial Operators on PCC

24 JUN 2021

InSight Crime Co-director Steven Dudley formed part of a panel attended by over 500 students, all of whom work in Paraguay's judicial system.