Mexico Institute in the News: For Mexican police, splashy arrests trump criminal convictions

Apr 04, 2012
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The Kansas City Star / McClatchy, April 4, 2012

It all began with confusion over a name, and it still isn't over for Aldo Christopher Granada Rivera. After eight months in a Mexican prison, he developed a facial tic and flinches at the sound of sirens.

Granada finally went free. But he's one of many victims of Mexican law-enforcement officials' practice of parading detainees in public "perp walks" and public news conferences, hoping to regain the trust of a citizenry besieged by organized crime. Human rights officials say Mexican authorities have nabbed innocent people repeatedly and smeared them in front of television cameras to burnish their image as crime fighters. They demand an end to the practice...

…A blend of factors has led to the high-profile televised exhibition of alleged criminals, experts say, including news outlets eager for higher ratings, a public anxious for any improvement in security and a desire by all levels of government to show improvements in their battle against crime by capturing wanted criminals.

"There isn't a sense of, 'We need to prove that this person is guilty.' It's just a presumption of guilt"

said Eric L. Olson, a senior associate at the Mexico Institute of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, a Washington research institution.

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