Crime & Justice

Video shows Mexican woman roughed up by police prior to her death in custody

Oaxaca City, Mexico, Sep 28 (EFE).- The sister of a young woman who perished under mysterious circumstances in a jail cell last month in the southern Mexican port city of Salina Cruz has released a video showing her being roughed up by municipal cops just a few minutes before her death.

“It was brutal how they tugged at her, hit her, mistreated her. No one deserves that, no one, no one. We need justice for my sister,” Margarita Hay Urrutia said, calling for the arrest of the cops in question.

The video adds more fuel to the controversy surrounding the events of Aug. 19, when Abigail Hay Urrutia – a 30-year-old mother of two – was jailed for resisting police trying to detain her on suspicion of a minor offense while she was arguing with her boyfriend, Cleivert Espinoza.

Margarita uploaded the 52-second video to Facebook with the headline, “These police can’t keep killing people. Stop lying and punish all of them.”

“Those police killed my sister. It’s perverse that more than a month later the mayor (Daniel Mendez) hasn’t launched a process to punish the police involved in what happened to my sister. We want justice. No more abuse by authorities,” she added.

Margarita said the footage was captured by a security camera inside the municipal lockup and shows the date and time of the video to be Aug. 19 at 4.52 pm, just minutes before the time of Abigail’s death.

The footage shows the three police hauling the woman into the municipal jail by force. One of them then went outside and closed the door behind him, while the other two let the woman fall down and her head struck the cement floor.

The woman got up, but the police subdued her once again.

“My sister was a very small, very thin person, and those women (police) used excessive force,” Margarita told Efe.

The Salina Cruz police force said in its report on Abigail’s death that she used her underwear to hang herself, but the woman’s family rejects that version of events.

Two people have been arrested thus far: a municipal police officer and a local judge.

All three autopsies performed on Abigail’s body showed that she died from suffocation by hanging.

Margarita, for her part, said she views her sister’s death as part of a wave of violence against women in Mexico, where an average of 10 femicides (gender-based killings of women) occur every day.

“That’s how the police in Santa Cruz operate. They arrest people, take them away and beat them,” she said.

Late last month, the father of Abigail and Margarita called for an investigation into the actions of Cleivert.

“He initiated everything because on the 19th … he came to my house with my daughter and my grandson. He left later and my daughter left, following him,” Jose Luis Hay said during a protest on Aug. 31 in front of the Oaxaca state legislature.

Accompanied by Margarita at the protest, the grieving father said that Espinoza used influential friends to avoid his responsibility in Abigail’s death.

Cleivert’s father is a security guard with contacts in the Salina Cruz police department, Hay said then.

Margarita told Efe then that her sister was a victim of domestic violence and that she suspected Espinoza hatched a plan to get Abigail out of the way so he could gain full custody of the couple’s young son. EFE


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