Mérida, May 12th 2011 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – Ten member of the Caracas-based Chacao police force were suspended on Wednesday after an investigation by Venezuela’s Ministry of the Interior and Justice linked the officers to a 2010 incident of police brutality.
Emilio Graterón, mayor of Chacao – an upscale municipality and opposition stronghold in central Caracas – as well as former Chacao Police (PoliChacao) director, Manuel Jóvez, have been subpoenaed so as to explain the incidents and their failure to provide information requested by investigators.
Earlier this month, socialist lawmaker Cilia Flores released video evidence of PoliChacao officers physically assaulting a group of 12 people after the group was subdued and in police custody. The victims of the 23 February 2010 incident accuse PoliChacao of “human rights violations.”
According to Venezuelan Attorney General Luisa Ortega Díaz PoliChacao and Chacao’s mayor’s office have been uncooperative since the investigation began last year.
Speaking on Venezolana de Televisión this week, Díaz explained, for example, how PoliChacao’s transfer of the victims to Salud (Health) Chacao – the municipality’s health department – resulted in medical staff failing to document the victim’s bruises, registering only their names and physical characteristics; resulting in a limited amount of evidence with which to prosecute those responsible for the abuses.
The day after the incident, said Díaz, her office submitted an official request to PoliChacao for videos, names of officers on duty that day, and other relevant details. This information, she said, “was never provided.”
Díaz told reporters that her office intends to subpoena Chacao’s mayor, Emilio Graterón, as well as former Chacao Police (PoliChacao) director, Manuel Jóvez, so as to force them to provide concrete evidence and to testify as to what occurred the day of the incident.
Cilia Flores, former president of Venezuela’s national assembly (0000-2010) who on 3 May 2011 released the video in question, has referred to Graterón as a “fascist” for his policing policies, and included Henrique Capriles – the current governor of Miranda and possible presidential candidate of the Venezuelan opposition – in the list of those responsible for the police abuses.
Chacao is one of the five political and administrative subdivisions of the city of Caracas, and is one of 21 municipalities that belong to the state of Miranda, governed by the opposition’s Capriles.