The American Civil Liberties Union on June 19 released a report alleging widespread abuses by the Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD). The report documents numerous instances excessive force, sometimes deadly, to suppress speech, subdue protesters, and target ethnic and racial minorities. It also alleges a culture of impunity among the police and a failure to police crimes of abuse and sexual assault:
The PRPD routinely commits abuses including the unjustified use of lethal force against unresisting, restrained, or unarmed civilians; beatings and other violence against unarmed Black, poor, and Dominican men that left some near death and others paralyzed or with traumatic brain injury; and excessive force against peaceful protesters. … The PRPD also fails to police crimes of domestic violence and rape and to protect women from violence by their intimate partners. These abuses do not represent isolated incidents or aberrant behavior by a few rogue officers. Such police brutality is pervasive and systemic, island-wide and ongoing. The PRPD is steeped in a culture of unrestrained abuse and near-total impunity.
The report recommends that the PRPD rewrite its policies and implement training procedures to reinforce these policies. It also recommends the the Puerto Rican government work to end impunity for abusive police officers. The ACLU also called on the US Department of Justice to intervene and enter into an enforceable agreement with the PRPD.
From Jurist, June 16. Used with permission.
See our last post on Puerto Rico.