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Think militarizing the police is still a good idea?

20 September 2014

… here, the military have been used as pólice, and the pólice militarized, with the results one might expect. Via The Pan American Post

… When authorities announced that 22 people had been killed by army personnel in a June 30 shootout in the state of Mexico, the Associated Press noted with skepticism that all but one soldier had miraculously escaped injury, and that “the warehouse where many bodies were found showed little evidence of sustained fighting.”

Despite the questions over the incident, Mexican authorities have persistently stuck to the official version of events. On July 17, Mexico State Attorney General Jaime Gomez Sanchez assured reporters that there was “no evidence whatsoever” that the 21 victims were executed.

But this story became harder to defend this week, when Esquire Mexico published an investigation into the incident featuring exclusive testimony from a witness who offered a disturbing description of the events. According to alias “Julia,” who officials identified as a kidnapping victim freed in the operation, only one suspect was killed in a shootout, which broke out after soldiers opened fire first. The rest surrendered, but were then killed after being interrogated. A medical examiner who carried out an autopsy on one of the victims, a 15-year-old girl, told Esquire that her wounds were the result of a point-blank execution.

[…] the incident casts further suspicion on President Enrique Peña Nieto’s decision to continue the military-heavy security policies of his predecessor. Relying on the army for law enforcement, after all, was initially sold to the public as a necessary measure to compensate for the relative corruption among local police forces. But with the military potentially responsible for abuses like those described by the witnesses mentioned above, it’s worth questioning just how incorruptible the Mexican armed forces really are.

“Corruption, in the usual sense of the world, has Little to do with it. A military is designed to fight enemies, foreign and domestic. By turning the military into a pólice forcé, it has made the citizens of this country the “enemy” and this type of incident has probably been much more common than is admitted. Turning those meant to “serve and protect”, even when the service and protection has been traditonally those who prey upon the citizenry into a military unit has the same effect.

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