Wednesday, December 28, 2011



Note: Leyazola, whatever else, appears to be getting getting
results. Kinder, gentler? Mexico's drug war doesn't seem to be too
conducive to that. Especially if the cartels prevail.

Suspects: Juárez chief of police killed friend
by Alejandro Martínez-Cabrera \ El Paso Times
Posted: 12/17/2011 12:00:00 AM MST

JUAREZ -- The city's chief of police, Julián Leyzaola, is being
accused of aggravated homicide by two men who filed a complaint
against him with the Chihuahua state prosecutor's office.

This week, Jorge Regulo Valdez and Sergio Andrés Palacios, arrested
on homicide charges and jailed at Cereso prison, accused Leyzaola and
seven other municipal police agents of beating one of their friends
to death.

City officials were surprised by the accusations. They had not
received an official complaint.

"We can't give our position on something that has only been discussed
in the media, but we will respond immediately to any instructions
from the prosecutor's office to cooperate with the investigations,"
said municipal police spokesman Adrián Sánchez.

City Mayor Héctor "Teto" Murguía said Thursday during a news
conference that he hadn't heard the new accusation against Leyzaola.

But the ombudsman for Chihuahua's Human Rights Commission in Juárez,
Gustavo de la Rosa Hickerson, said that whether the claims are true
or not, the implications could be equally serious

It is difficult to believe that a police chief would be involved so
directly in an act of violence of that magnitude, de la Rosa said.
But if it is proved to be true, it would be of great concern for the
city, he said.

If the claims prove false, he would not discard the possibility that
a coordinated effort could exist to discredit the police chief, de la
Rosa said.

"Everybody is attacking Leyzaola," de la Rosa said. "It's probably
because there are perverse interests that want to discredit him. It's
either a conspiracy against Leyzaola, or it's a very dangerous
conduct (with bad implications) for the city."

In their complaint, Valdez and Palacios said they were detained by
municipal police agents on Nov. 9 along with a friend, Andrés "El
Borre" Padilla, and an unidentified minor.

They were later taken to an uninhabited house, where, they claim,
they were beaten and interrogated about their employers and their
pay. The beating continued in a police substation, where Valdez and
Palacios claim they saw Leyzaola and the seven agents beat Padilla to

"We saw when the Chief of Police Julián Leyzaola and the officers
that detained us beat Jorge Andrés Padilla until they killed him,"
the men said in the complaint. "And after killing him we saw and
heard Mr. Julián Leyzaola order the officers to go dump the body at
the Camino Real road to get rid of the evidence."

Valdez and Palacios said they decided to file the complaint once they
knew they would be out of the municipal police department's reach
inside Cereso prison, which recently became administered by the state

"Now that we know that our lives are not at risk inside the state
Cereso É we ask for justice for our friend," the complaint said.

De la Rosa said it's urgent for the Chihuahua state prosecutor's
office to corroborate or refute the accusation.

"It's the prosecutor's office responsibility to determine if the
accusation is true or false. If this matter is not clarified, we're
going to have serious problems with the remaining doubts," he said.

This is not the first accusation of excessive force against Leyzaola
since he became police chief in March. Last month, a Human Rights
Commission of Baja California Norte report said Leyzaola tortured and
violated the human rights of several people under his custody during
his time as police chief in Tijuana.

And last week, Shohn Huckabee, a 24-year-old U.S. citizen who was
incarcerated in Juárez for drug possession and recently released,
accused Leyzaola of beating an inmate with a piece of wood during a
search operation inside the prison.

"He sat everyone down. He came and beat people. I saw it with my
eyes. He broke a 2-by-4 over a guy's back. (One officer) said, 'Here
you go, boss, here's another one.' It was ruthless. It was a
difficult circumstance to watch," Huckabee said in an interview last

Valdez and Palacios' accusation is also the latest complaint against
the municipal police regarding abuse of authority.

Several protesters filed a compliant against Mexico's National
Commission for Human Rights after a peaceful demonstration in early
November turned into a violent confrontation with municipal police

Days later, the Red por la Infancia (or the Network in Defense of
Children) filed another complaint against police before Chihuahua's
Human Rights Commission after 15 young people who were promoting a
youth campaign reported that they had been detained, beaten and
humiliated by municipal police agents.

The municipal agents "do not assume with sincerity the need to
respect the law. The only thing they've understood is that they have
the strength to break the law with impunity," de la Rosa said.

And Leyzaola tolerates, or maybe even promotes, that type of
behavior, he added.

"Municipal police agents work under the false notion that they are
the law and hold all the power, and it's the responsibility of the
head of the agency to change that," he said. "It's not a priority for
(Leyzaola) to end with this culture."

Alejandro Martínez-Cabrera can be reached at; 546-6129.

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