HomeNewsBriefPolice Killings Increasing in Dominican Republic Despite Promises: AI
BRIEF

Police Killings Increasing in Dominican Republic Despite Promises: AI

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC / 18 AUG 2014 BY KYRA GURNEY EN

Killings perpetrated by police in the Dominican Republic rose by 13 percent in the first half of 2014, according to Amnesty International, highlighting the government's failures to address widespread human rights violations in spite of promises of police reform.

According to National Observatory on Citizen Security figures reported by Amnesty International (AI), 87 people were killed by Dominican police between January and June this year, compared to 77 over the same period in 2013. In an open letter to Dominican President Danilo Medina, Amnesty International stated that the organization has also documented cases of torture, forced disappearances and arbitrary arrests perpetrated by the country's national police force.

Among the most egregious recent cases highlighted by AI is that of seventeen-year-old Walder Sanchez, who was killed by police on May 30. Although police claimed Sanchez died in a shootout, witnesses stated that he was unarmed at the time of his death. Police also allegedly beat his pregnant girlfriend and landlady.

In another recent case of alleged law enforcement abuses highlighted by AI, two men were reportedly detained and beaten after refusing to pay a bribe, and one of the men was shot in the leg by police officers. 

InSight Crime Analysis

Excessive use of force by police officers is a serious problem in the Dominican Republic. According to a 2012 Amnesty International report (pdf), police are responsible for an average of 15 percent of all homicides. Although the number of people killed by cops dipped in 2013, a total over 700 people were killed by police between 2011 and 2013, according to the Dominican Republic's Prosecutor General's Office.

Law enforcement personnel have also been implicated in other illegal activities, with over 500 police and military dismissed for ties to drug trafficking groups between 2007 and 2012. In one recent case, investigations into a micro-trafficking organization revealed that local cops accepted around $140,000 a month in bribes to facilitate the group's illegal activities.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of the Caribbean

Given the endemic corruption and human rights abuses in the national police force, President Medina vowed to reform the police and design a citizen security policy when he took office in 2012. In keeping with that promise, his government introduced a reform law in Congress in May 2013, which included the establishment of use of force and firearms regulations that met international standards, and the strengthening of oversight mechanisms. Over a year later the law has yet to be passed, however, a delay Amnesty International attributes to both a lack of political will and powerful interests against reform. 

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

MEXICO / 8 AUG 2012

Nearly half of the 40,000 local, state, and federal law enforcement officials recently found unfit for duty were concentrated in…

BOLIVIA / 23 MAY 2012

Bolivia's police chief has been replaced amid corruption allegations, in a sign of the obstacles facing reform to the country's…

CARIBBEAN / 12 DEC 2011

Dominican authorities have announced the arrest of Miguel Rivera Diaz, alias "Bolo," one of Puerto Rico's most wanted drug traffickers.

About InSight Crime

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.

THE ORGANIZATION

Series on Environmental Crime in the Amazon Generates Headlines

17 SEP 2021

InSight Crime and the Igarapé Institute have been delighted at the response to our joint investigation into environmental crimes in the Colombian Amazon. Coverage of our chapters dedicated to illegal mining…

THE ORGANIZATION

Exploring Climate Change and Organized Crime

10 SEP 2021

In July, InSight Crime Co-director Steven Dudley moderated a panel for the Climate Reality Project's regional series of workshops for young climate activists in the Americas. The week-long event…

THE ORGANIZATION

Gearing Up a New Class of Interns

3 SEP 2021

InSight Crime is readying its newest class of interns – from universities in Europe and the Americas – to begin investigative work on a number of high-impact projects. For the…

THE ORGANIZATION

Tracking Environmental Crime in the Amazon

27 AUG 2021

Next week, InSight Crime launches an investigation – conducted with Brazilian think-tank the Igarapé Institute – on the sophisticated organized crime structures and armed groups that…