MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – The governor of a Mexican state recently roiled by clashes between security forces and demonstrators apologized on Saturday for abuses carried out by police against people protesting the against death of a man in police custody.
Enrique Alfaro, governor of the western region of Jalisco, said he was appalled that police in the state capital of Guadalajara had on Friday beaten some participants in a demonstration over the death of the man, Giovanni Lopez.
“It embarrasses me, it distresses me, it greatly pains me as a man from Jalisco, and as governor,” Alfaro said in a video posted on Twitter.
After Friday’s clashes, media reported more than a dozen people were missing after being abducted by armed men.
Alfaro ordered the missing people to be tracked down and said late on Saturday they had all been found.
“We can say that they are all in their homes,” he said on Twitter. “No one has disappeared.”
The 2014 disappearance of 43 student teachers who were apparently massacred after being abducted by corrupt police in southwest Mexico sparked international outrage and did lasting damage to the reputation of then-president Enrique Pena Nieto.
Inspired by the case of George Floyd, a black American man killed in Minneapolis last month after a white police officer knelt on his neck during an arrest, protests over police abuses have flared up in other parts of the world.
Floyd’s death helped drive demonstrations over the fate of Lopez, who died in police custody in Jalisco last month after reportedly being detained by municipal officers for not wearing a face mask to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.
A resulting demonstration triggered clashes and the arrest of protesters in Guadalajara on Thursday. Alfaro said he had decided to release the detainees without charges.
(Reporting by Dave Graham; Editing by Daniel Wallis, Robert Birsel)