November 27, 2015 / 12:30 AM / 2 years ago

Mexico Federal Police open to probe on use of excessive force

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico’s Federal Police is open to an investigation into its possible use of excessive force, particularly in two incidents this year that claimed the lives of dozens of people, police chief Enrique Galindo said on Thursday.

Federal police officers stand guard near a vehicle with a "Wanted" sign of fugitive kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman glued to the window at the site of a passageway Mexican authorities on Thursday attributed to the cartel of Guzman, in Tijuana, October 24, 2015. REUTERS/Jorge Duenes

Mexico’s National Human Rights Commision (CNDH) on Wednesday said six people died unlawfully after police were excessive in their efforts to restrain a group of protesters in the violence-wracked city of Apatzingan in Michoacan state.

Galindo said in an interview with Reuters he wanted to know “if it was excessive or not. And if it was, it should be sanctioned, and if it wasn‘t, that should be stated.”

International organizations such as Human Rights Watch have also raised questions about whether the Federal Police - which has some 41,000 officers - carried out extra-judicial killings in a May clash in western Mexico with suspected gang members that left 42 civilians and one officer dead.

“In both cases, our position is to provide all the possible evidence that could help to shed light on the facts and, of course, if there was any wrongdoing, we will take responsibility,” Galindo said. “I am waiting for the prosecutor to finish the investigation.”

Last year, prosecutors ended up charging a group of soldiers with murder over a clash with alleged gang members that killed 22, after having initially rejected the suggestion of foul play.

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto has been under pressure to clean up abuses by security forces since the disappearance and apparent massacre of 43 students in the city of Iguala in southwestern Mexico in September 2014.

The government said the trainee teachers were abducted by corrupt local police, then handed over to members of a violent drug gang who killed them and incinerated their remains.

Reporting by Lizbeth Diaz and Anahi Rama; Writing by Elinor Comlay; Editing by Eric Walsh

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