In Echo Of George Floyd Killing, A Woman Dies After Police In Mexico Pin Her Down

Facedown and with her hands behind her, a woman cries out. She is surrounded by four police officers. One pins her to the ground, kneeling on her back.

Moments later, she lies handcuffed and silent, barefoot and motionless, as onlookers record the incident, which unfolded Saturday in the Mexican beach resort city of Tulum.

In videos published on Mexican news sites, officers can be seen picking up her limp body and carrying her toward a patrol vehicle. In the clips, they load her onto the back of the truck and appear to roll her over before driving away from the scene.

On Sunday, police confirmed that the woman had died, and opened a homicide investigation.

The Salvadoran government and local media identified her as Victoria Salazar Arriaza, a 36-year-old Salvadoran mother of two who was living in Mexico on a humanitarian visa.

She died of broken vertebrae, according to a statement Monday from the Quintana Roo state prosecutor’s office. It accused police of using “disproportionate” force and said that the four officers would be taken into custody on suspicion of committing femicide. “The law will be applied rigorously so this crime doesn’t go unpunished,” the statement said.

Mexican media quoted local officials as saying police detained the woman after getting a call that she was acting aggressively toward employees of a convenience store.

The videos have been viewed millions of times on Twitter, sparking widespread anger and calls for justice.

On social media, users expressed horror at the incident and used the hashtag #JusticiaParaVictoria to denounce police brutality. The hashtag soon gained traction, becoming one of the top trends in the country on Twitter.

Police brutality is hardly uncommon in Mexico, but it has received new attention since the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died while being detained by a White Minneapolis police officer during an arrest in the United States in May last year. During his arrest, Floyd told officers he was unable to breathe, uttering the phrase at least 25 times while he was restrained.

In video taken by onlookers, then-Officer Derek Chauvin placed his knee on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes — a widely criticized restraint method.

Washington Post

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