Saturday, June 28, 2008

Cop faces murder charges after botched raid

A MEXICAN police commander who led a botched raid on a nightclub will be charged with 12 counts of homicide - one for each person who died in the crush at the bar's entrance.

Mexico City Attorney-General Rodolfo Felix Cardenas said his office was bringing the charges against precinct commander Guillermo Zayas for failing to halt Friday's mismanaged raid, in which one group of police tried to force youths out of the club while another blocked the exit to prevent them leaving.

Patrons, mainly minors, were caught in the middle.

Nine were crushed or asphyxiated near the narrow entrance, along with three police officers. The youngest victim was 13.

"Even though there is no evidence that Guillermo Zayas ever ordered police to close the doors of the discotheque, or block the entrance, it has been proven that he never gave the order to police blocking the entrance to let the youths out," Mr Felix Cardenas said.

He argued that allowing the youths out of the club could have prevented the 12 deaths.

Seven other city officers are being held, pending possible charges in the case, he said.

About 200 police raided the club looking for alcohol and drug violations.

Initial investigations suggest that overcrowding and a locked emergency exit, as well as police errors, caused the tragedy.

Police initially began allowing youths out and loading them on to buses to take them to police stations.

However, the officers apparently stopped letting patrons out after the police buses filled up.,23599,23930347-401,00.html

No comments: