Police officers in Cancún have gone on strike to demand the removal of the city’s top cop, whom they accuse of mistreating them and having links to organized crime.
Jesús Pérez Abarca was forced off the job yesterday by angry officers who physically pushed him out of the city’s police headquarters while shouting “to the street, to the street!”
When the commander asked the police why he was being removed, they responded “for being corrupt.”
Officers claim that Pérez is colluding with criminal gangs and complain that they have been ordered to investigate members of the city’s business community without any apparent motive.
“Mr. [Pérez] Abarca wants to investigate all the business people, their homes and addresses. He has ordered it. I don’t know why he wants to investigate them . . . the only thing that should concern him is the insecurity the municipality is living through, coming up with strategies so that the crime rate goes down . . .” one of the striking police officers said.
Pérez’s personal bodyguards failed to intervene to stop the commander from being pushed out of his workplace and he consequently found himself alone in front of the police offices.
The newspaper El Universal reported that Pérez then proceeded to make a few telephone calls before walking to a shopping center parking lot where he was picked up by an unlicensed vehicle.
The mayor of Benito Juárez, the municipality where Cancún is located, met with the officers yesterday and told them that she couldn’t take a unilateral decision to dismiss Pérez.
Mara Lezama explained that any move to remove Pérez would need to be agreed to by all three levels of government because municipal authorities approved a mando único, or single-command policing system in Cancún which involves federal, state and local security forces working together under central leadership.
The Quintana Roo public security secretary indicated that state authorities would not support the dismissal of Pérez.
Alberto Capella sought to discredit the officers’ claims and attributed their work stoppage to opposition against a move to carry out a “cleansing” of the municipal force to remove corrupt police.
He added that Pérez had filed a criminal complaint with the state Attorney General’s office following his physical removal “against those . . . responsible for the crimes of riot and sedition.”
The striking officers will face work-related and administrative repercussions, Capella said, adding that “the exercise of policing is not to be negotiated with anyone.”