An 11-year-old Argentine boy has been killed by a police officer who shot him in the back of the neck, renewing the debate about police brutality.
An 11-year-old Argentine boy has been killed by a police officer who shot him in the back of the neck for "circling suspiciously" on the back of a friend's motorcycle, renewing the national debate about police brutality.
The victim, Facundo Burgos, was riding on the motorcycle with his 14-year-old friend Juan late Thursday when the two were spotted by a police patrol unit from Tucuman.
According to the official version of events, posted on the Tucuman government website, the officers spotted three motorcycles and opened fire on the youths in self-defense to "repel a potential threat."
Juan, the 14-year-old survivor, maintains the opposite. He told Prosecutor Adriana Giannoni that he and Burgos were chased by two policemen to the intersection of Avellaneda and Rio de Janeiro, where his friend was fatally shot.
Burgos was transferred to Padilla Hospital, where he died at 4:30 a.m. "My friend was killed by the police, I was saved by a miracle," Juan told La Gaceta newspaper.
The two officers involved were arrested and later released, while Juan – who police claim had traces of gunpowder on his hands – was detained for several hours until his defense filed a habeas corpus.
Juan's mother Juana Herrera denounced the death as an injustice, and said that instead of taking her son to the hospital, the officers took him straight into detention: "That's the great police we have in Tucuman."
Matias Pisarello, of the NGO Lawyers of the Northwest in Human Rights (Andhes), said the case calls to memory what has become known as the Chocobar Doctrine, so-called after police officer Luis Chocobar, who shot a thief in the back and killed him, and was later hailed by President Mauricio Macri as a national hero.
"I have no doubt in framing this as a 'trigger-happy' case like the Chocobar doctrine," Pisarello told Pagina 12. "The police themselves accept that this began against young people who were not doing anything wrong and that an 11-year-old boy – turned into a 'suspect' for riding a motorcycle – died from a shot in the neck that went through his forehead.
"Cases of institutional violence have increased this year here; the use of firearms by police personnel has increased significantly." Pisarello blamed the rise in violence on the "Chocobar doctrine that endorses this type of procedure and encourages police personnel to have that kind of attitude."
Other recent victims of police brutality in Argentina include Angel Alexis Noguera, killed by a rubber bullet to the head; 17-year-old Victor Robles, murdered by a plainclothes policeman while trying to steal a motorcycle, and Maximiliano Tapia, who lost a leg after being shot by police in Las Talitas.
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