Mexico City police official to be charged in bar deaths

The police commander who led a botched raid on a Mexico City nightclub will be charged with 12 counts of homicide, one for each person who died in the crush at the bar’s entrance, prosecutors said Wednesday.

The Associated Press reports this morning City Atty. Gen. Rodolfo Felix Cardenas said his office was bringing the charges against precinct commander Guillermo Zayas for failing to halt Friday’s mismanaged raid, in which one group of police tried to force youths out of the club while another blocked the exit to prevent them from leaving.

“Even though there is no evidence that Guillermo Zayas ever ordered police to close the doors of the discotheque, or block the entrance, it has been proven that he never gave the order to police blocking the entrance to let the youths out,” Felix Cardenas said at a news conference.”

But the removal and punishment of one official is unlikely to solve what is a deeply ingrained systemic problem within both the Mexican police force and society as a whole.

In this La Plaza post yesterday, Mexican youth advocate and sociologist Héctor Castillo Berthier attributed the tragedy to a police force not trained or equipped to deal with such situations, as well as a lack of public policy directed at the city’s youth.

–Deborah Bonello in Mexico City

This post was written for La Plaza.

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