Violence during a march against police brutality in Mexico City has resulted in two police being jailed for using excessive force and has triggered subsequent riots.
The march occurred on Friday and began at the American Embassy, but was unrelated to George Floyd’s death. Rather, they were protesting the death of Giovanni Lopez, who was arrested on May 4 in Jalisco. Lopez was detained for failing to wear a face mask, and he died in the hospital on May 5 due to complications from a traumatic brain injury. Video later surfaced of the arrest, and it shows him receiving multiple blows to the head.
He informed the arresting officers of an asthma condition which made wearing a mask medically dangerous for him. His family has confirmed that condition to press, although it remains unconfirmed by authorities.
The death of the 30 year old bricklayer has triggered a number of protests against police oppression, and on Friday a group of about a hundred citizens splintered from a routine American protest in Mexico City to the local office for Jalisco. Mexico News Daily reports that this group held a large “Antifa” banner and anarchist flags, breaking store windows and damaging homes along the path of their march.
Police were called to deal with the marchers, some of whom were armed with rocks, sticks, and molotov cocktails. As the marchers were contained, some responded by attacking the police, and the police responded.
Among the attackers was a sixteen-year-old girl named Melanie. She admits to throwing rocks at the police; she excuses her actions because the police had helmets and shields.
Although she and others were undeniably the aggressors in Friday’s conflict and weapons capable of grievous bodily injury were being used against the officers, their reactions were considered excessive by Mexican governmental standards… after she was already on her back, multiple police moving past her took the time to kick her in the head. When they returned to collect her, she was again repeatedly kicked in the head.
Two officers involved have now been jailed for their actions, but riots and protests have occurred throughout the city on Monday and Tuesday as some people continue to protest police abuse and others take advantage of the opportunity to loot stores.