Mexican Consul Criticizes L.A. Killings by Law Officers : Law enforcement: He charges that police and sheriff’s deputies repeatedly use excessive force against immigrants.
Appearing at a press conference Tuesday with the relatives of several Mexican immigrants killed by authorities, the Mexican consul general in Los Angeles criticized local law enforcement officials, saying they repeatedly use excessive force against Mexican citizens.
Jose Angel Pescador Osuna singled out the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the Los Angeles Police Department, two agencies that he said were responsible for the deaths of six Mexican citizens in the last 12 months.
“Sheriff and LAPD officers have shot honest people with no criminal record,” Pescador said. “Perhaps these Mexican citizens were violating the law, but their actions do not justify the loss of their lives as punishment, a gross violation of their basic human rights.”
The most recent death, the consul general said, occurred Saturday in Cudahy when deputies were summoned to a domestic dispute at the home of Emiliano Camacho.
Camacho, 40, was shot and killed by deputies when he appeared at the front door holding a “rifle-like” object, authorities said. The object later turned out to be a 2 1/2-foot-long wooden club, a sheriff’s spokesman said.
Camacho’s widow said she is considering legal action.
“I hope there will be justice,” Evangelina Camacho said in Spanish. “Why did they kill my husband and leave my (three) children without a father?”
Capt. Ramon Sanchez of the sheriff’s East Los Angeles station said the deputies’ actions were justified because they feared for their safety.
Sanchez added that he was irritated by Pescador’s statements linking the Camacho shooting to other incidents involving Mexican citizens.
“They’re implying that there are racial overtones and that’s ridiculous,” Sanchez said.
Pescador provided a list of 16 incidents throughout Southern California in which the consulate is investigating allegations of excessive use of force by law officers.
In response to one of those incidents earlier this year, the consulate sent a formal letter to Los Angeles Police Chief Daryl F. Gates to protest the shooting death of Nicolas Contreras in South-Central Los Angeles. Contreras was shot by officers who said the Mexican immigrant had threatened them with a gun he was firing into the air during a New Year’s Eve celebration.
The consul general said he was not satisfied with the response that police officials gave to his request for an investigation into the shooting of Contreras and other Mexican citizens.
“Until this date, all the petitions for a thorough investigation . . . have not obtained results,” Pescador said. “It is not possible that every death of a Mexican national becomes just another file.”
Los Angeles police spokesman Lt. Fred Nixon declined to comment Tuesday, saying he had not reviewed the consul’s statements, which were made at a late-afternoon press conference.
Pescador also provided reporters a copy of a letter he sent Tuesday to the Mexican secretariat of foreign affairs. The letter asks that the Mexican government request through diplomatic channels a U.S. Department of Justice investigation into alleged police misconduct against Mexican citizens in Southern California.