Mexican police officers arrested for gender-based killing after kneeling on immigrant's neck

Tulum, Mexico - An immigrant from El Salvador has died at the hands of four police officers on Mexico's Caribbean coast in a brutal case reminiscent of the death of George Floyd last year.

A group of women gathered to demand justice after the murder of Salvadoran immigrant Victoria Salazar.
A group of women gathered to demand justice after the murder of Salvadoran immigrant Victoria Salazar.  © IMAGO / Agencia EFE

Victoria Esperanza Salazar Arriaza, a 36-year-old immigrant from El Salvador, died in the resort town of Tulum on the Yucatán peninsula after officers tied her hands together and one pinned her down, according to local media reports.

In video footage that has been circulating on social media, a female police officer is seen kneeling on the Salazar's back at one point. Her lifeless body is later seen on the back of a pick-up truck.

The four officers involved used disproportionate force when the woman was detained and they were arrested on suspicion of femicide, or gender-based killing, the state prosecutor of Quintana Roo state said on Monday.

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An autopsy indicated that a fracture of two cervical vertebrae caused the woman's death. The reasons behind her arrest were initially unclear. The city's police chief has been sacked.

"She was treated brutally and killed," Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said of Salazar.

His counterpart in El Salvador, Nayib Bukele, called for those responsible to be severely punished.

In a tweet, he promised that his administration would provide support for the victim's family, and added: "We only ask for justice. Let the full weight of the law fall on those who did this."

Around a tenth of the almost 100 murder victims recorded each day in Mexico are women. Cases of excessive use of force by security forces are also not uncommon.

Cover photo: IMAGO / Agencia EFE

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