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Turning the tables

22 December 2015

(22 December:  Although a legitimate part of the story — publicizing it was a factor in capturing him — I’ve removed torture-boy’s surnames from this post.  I think his family values (or lack thereof) should be public information, but Adel is a minor.    While I’m not any sort of official media guy, I’ll err on the side of caution, and follow the practice — and law — here in not giving out the name publicly). 

In the last week we’ve had at least two instances of individuals who humiliated, abused (and in one of these instances, tortured) indigents on the street, tracked down through social media and now facing legal penalties.

In downtown Tepic, local journalist Heriberto Villela happened by a Coppel department store where the manager, and two employees, had turned a water hose on a woman sitting outside on the sidewalk.  The woman had been told to move along, and despite it being pointed out by Villela that she was on a public sidewalk, not on Coppel’s property, the store manager said “pointed out that the woman was not on Coppel’s property, the manager told he gave the orders, and could do what he wanted.

With the publication of Villela’s photos, it seems that it is the State’s governor and attorney general, not the store manager, who “give the orders”.

Governor Roberto Sandoval Castañeda said on Twitter he had ordered an investigation and that the store or those responsible would be punished for the “regrettable humiliation” suffered by the woman who, he also noted, was indigenous.

The state Attorney General’s office acted this morning, detaining the manager and two employees, ordering the remaining staff out of the store and sealing the doors. Signs were hung announcing the store had been shut.

As of yesterday morning, the state attorney general’s office prepared a preliminary investigation (averiguación previa) into assault charges against the store employees and the manager.

A potentially rougher justice may have been avoided when 17-year old Adel M.  turned himself in to the Public Minister in Tijuana this morning.  The teenager had accosted a homeless man in Tijuana with a taser-pistol, forced him to kneel in the street while repeating some obscenities (the usual teenage giggles about sucking dicks and the like), before he was forced to strip naked and burned with a cigarette.  Which was recorded on a cell phone camera by one of Adel’s “charming” cohorts, and posted on youtube.

Adel’s future as a “interrogation enhancement technician” appear to have been thwarted when “Anonymous” gave Adel 48 hours to apologize to this victim and turn himself in to the Public Ministry-  By way of inducement, Anonymous also publicized the names and photos of his brother, mother, and father… while another source was offering a 250 U.S. dollar reward for information on his whereabouts.  Not at all pleased with receiving the sort of treatment by phone that her son meted out to complete strangers, his mother dropped a dime on the delinquent kid.
It’s easy to be cynical about these incidents… to assume Governor Sandoval has some ulterior motive in tangling with the corporate retail chain (second only to Walmart), or the particular manager (and wanted the store closed the week before Christmas)… or that Adel’s mom, knowing the kid is a minor (and the family appears to be upper middle-class) is better class privilege and status will make the problem go away.  But still… one in a while there is justice for the poor, and that’s about as close to a real Christmas miracle as we’re likely to get this year.
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