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. Continue reading

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Mexico nightclub tragedy caused by inept police and an ignored youth, says youth advocate

P6232087This post was written for La Plaza, the Los Angeles Times Latin America blog.

A tragedy in Mexico City last weekend, in which 12 people were suffocated or trampled to death in a bungled police raid at the News Divine night club, was due to an inept police force and a lack of public policy directed at the city’s youth, says a sociologist and longtime activist for youth-related programs.

Héctor Castillo Berthier, who runs the youth culture center Circo Volador (Flying Circus) in Mexico City and has worked in youth programs for more than 30 years (pictured), said in an interview Tuesday with La Plaza that the capital’s police are not trained to deal with adolescents and young adults. That’s part of a wider failure to integrate young people into Mexico’s public and political life, he said.

“Mexico doesn’t have a defined public policy for its youth. They aren’t part of the public agenda or the political agenda,” said Castillo Berthier, speaking in his cluttered office in the run-down neighborhood of Lorenzo Boturini. Continue reading

12 people killed during nightclub police raid

A woman reacts next to the body of a young nightclubber who died in a stampede at the News Divine club in northeastern Mexico City, Friday, June 20, 2008. At least 10 people were trampled to death during a police raid on the nightclub, the capital\'s police chief said. The Police went to the club in the early evening to check reports of drugs and alcohol being sold to minors.Reports are emerging this morning that 12 people, including three police officers, were killed yesterday during a police raid on the News Divine Nightclub in Mexico City.

The capital’s police chief said hundreds of youths marking the end of the school year had panicked when police raided the News Divine club.

He said there had been a stampede by customers trying to escape. Three police officers were among the dead.

Police said they had been investigating reports that drugs and alcohol were being sold to under-age clubbers. BBC

You can see a video here from El Universal on the tragic event and read the Miami Herald report here.

Photo: AP via the Miami HeraldA woman reacts next to the body of a young nightclubber who died in a stampede at the News Divine club in northeastern Mexico City, Friday, June 20, 2008. At least 10 people were trampled to death during a police raid on the nightclub, the capital’s police chief said. The Police went to the club in the early evening to check reports of drugs and alcohol being sold to minors.