“A tenth of all the murders recorded in 2010 were committed by the police.”
There has been an alarming level of police brutality, killings, and torture in the Dominican Republic. Human rights violations are being committed by corrupt professional authorities who are not being held accountable for their actions. Between January and July 2011, 154 people were killed by the police in the Dominican Republic, according to the Office of the Prosecutor General. Reports indicate that while police officers claim that vast majorities of their shootings were in self-defense, in reality, police officers deliberately shoot to kill. There have also been reports of suspects being threatened, beaten, and tortured while in custody.
“The system for investigations of police abuse in the Dominican Republic is disorganized and lacks proper procedures to handle complaints of human rights violations by the police. Whether a police officer faces justice for a killing or torture depends largely on whether the victim or their family lodges an official complaint, the level of publicity a case attracts and the political pressure exerted on prosecutors,” said Javier Zúñiga.
Many families of victims are afraid to talk, as the new motto in the Republic is: “Shut up if you don’t want to be killed.”
This is a very interesting issue. Unlike the authorities in Syria, and Ukraine, where police are killing innocent bystanders, police forces in the Dominican Republic are killing those charged in criminal convictions without giving them a fair trial or allowing them to serve their sentences. They are ‘cleaning the streets’ by getting rid of criminals. They have justified their killings, but is it really a justification?