Parents of several of the six arrested in the case of the patrol that fired 32 shots against a Kia vehicle, killing two on board (Eliza Muñoz and Joel Díaz)
and injuring a third of four occupants on the evening fo 30 March 2021. The chief of the Police said in an Alicia Ortega interview that they were looking for a white car involved in the stealing of a pasola, a small motorcycle. News reports indicate that the bullets recovered at the site reveal the policemen used high-caliber weapons for which they were not authorized. Interior & Police Minister Jesus Vasquez has said the killing was due to a confused identity. The director of the Police, Edward Santos admitted all correct protocols were violated by the police.
The media has criticized that the director of the Villa Altagracia police station, from where the patrol was sent to act against the vehicle, has only been suspended and has not been included in the group of six sent to the hearing for preventive custody. Colonel Cesar Mariñez Lora shows up in Google as having been suspended from the National Drug Control Agency (DNCD) in 2012 despite being accused then of negotiating with drugs he confiscated from drug traffickers. He was never penalized, and later joined the Police force. Community members say that Mariñez ran the Villa Altagracia police station as a Trujillo.
The parents of the six accused say their sons were following orders, others say not all fired shots, mentioning the driver of the patrol.
The preventive custody hearing was postponed as the defendant lawyer of police agent Anthony Castro recused the judge Sudelgi Rosario Mena
in the case arguing she showed hostility against the accused.
The six accused are: second lieutenant Victorino Reyes, sargeant Domingo Perdomo, and agents Norkys Rodríguez, Ángel de los Santos, Anthony Castro and Juan Manuel Ogando.
Hoy published the details of the case drafted by the state prosecutors.
The legal counsel for the two deceased concur that there are people missing in the case filed with the prosecutors by the Police.
One former policemen was at the hearing for custody and criticized the lenience of the chief of the Police. He said the Police chief should personally traveled to Villa Altagracia and taken charge of the investigation. He asked: “Where is the person who gave the order to kill?” as reported in Diario Libre.
Ivan Lorenzo, spokesman for the Dominican Liberation Party (PLD) in the Senate, says it is strange the audio of the event is not included in the case, there is no final report, and President Luis Abinader says he is not fully informed.
Congressman Tonty Rutinel, of the ruling Modern Revolutionary Party, thundered during the 7 April 2021 afternoon session of the Chamber of Deputies calling for the dismissal of the director of the National Police. Rutinel commented that the director of the Police is a person who has no criteria or if what is happening in the country is a mess, or if he was someone who had no concept,” and if so, he should not lead this institution. Rutinel said the police as is today should be buried.
Instead, the President announced a committee of notables and gave them a year to come up with recommendations for Police reform. Most of the people on the committee have no experience whatsoever with Police reform.
Meanwhile, the civic watchdog group Participación Ciudadana called for zero tolerance to police excesses.
One of the reasons mentioned as why the PRM won the election over the ruling PLD was that many people, especially in the barrios, were tired of police excesses and voted for a change.
7 April 2021