Mon. Feb 26th, 2024


Residents of a town in Mexico attacked numerous officers and vandalised a local government building as protests erupted after a 27-year-old man was shot dead by police.

Neighbours in the town of Lerdo de Tejada – just off the Gulf coast state of Veracruz – clashed with officers at the scene and overturned a police car before setting fire and breaking the windows of the local town hall.

It comes after Brando Arellano Cruz was shot on Friday night after failing to stop his car at a police checkpoint while on his way to his grandmother’s house.

His family speculated he didn’t stop after the police flagged him down for fear of the security forces, who are highly mistrusted by local residents.

“Once he had parked, they opened fire against the car and killed him instantly, shooting him in the jugular like cowards,” his father, Delfino Arellano Ramirez, said.

“My son died instantly.”

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Pic: Lerdo Esta de Pie

A crowd argues with police officials next to a car where, according to relatives, a man was shot dead by police, in Lerdo de Tejada, Veracruz state, Mexico January 19, 2024 in this screengrab obtained from social media video. Lerdo Esta de Pie/via REUTERS THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES.
Image:
Pic: Lerdo Esta de Pie

Arriving at the scene shortly afterwards, Mr Arellano Ramirez said he saw the impact of the bullet in the glass of the car.

“I saw that my son was on his face and was already dripping blood,” the grieving father said.

A crowd of furious residents began targeting the officers allegedly involved, as well as two police cars, a van and part of the town hall building.

Erika Maria Cruz, left, and her husband, grieve next to the body of their son, Brando Arellano Cruz, fatally shot by police after he failed to pull over, in Lerdo de Tejada, Mexico, Saturday, Jan. 19, 2024. Four municipal police officers are under investigation in relation to the death of the young man, after the victim's neighbors staged violent protests and attempted to lynch the officers. (AP Photo/Felix Marquez)
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Brando Arellano Cruz’s parents grieve next to their son’s body in the car where he was shot dead. Pic: AP

The family reported that one officer fled the scene and four were taken to hospital by state police.

They are believed to be the same four officers who are under investigation over the shooting.

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In a statement, Maria Esther Arroniz Lopez, mayor of Lerdo de Tejada, said she was “deeply sorry” for the loss of Mr Arellano Cruz but added she “strongly condemns” the protesters, who she said “took advantage of this misfortune”.

“A group of people agitate citizenship to feed hatred, vandalism and social instability,” the statement read on Facebook.

A damaged Veracruz state police patrol car lays on its side, burned by residents protesting the death of Brando Arellano Cruz, fatally shot by police after he failed to pull over, in Lerdo de Tejada near Veracruz, M..xico, Saturday, Jan. 19, 2024. Four municipal police officers are under investigation in relation to the death of the young man, after the victim's neighbors staged violent protests and attempted to lynch the officers. (AP Photo/Felix Marquez)
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A damaged Veracruz police car lays on its side, burned by residents. Pic: AP

“The damages caused by the fire in part of the municipal palace, two patrols and a transport unit of the municipal DIF, are also not justified.

“Violence is not the answer; in these times where we must stand together and respect a family’s pain.”

She said the government rejects “unjustified use of force” and it will “apply all the strictness of the law against those who are responsible”.



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