Mexican state police relieve local force in resort of Tulum

State police in Mexico are taking over law enforcement duties in the Caribbean coast resort of Tulum, relieving a municipal force that has been charged in the death of a Salvadoran woman while being detained

Lucio Hernández Gutiérrez, the acting state police chief in Quintana Roo state, said the municipal officers in Tulum had systematically violated proper procedure.

He said they will be sent for retraining, “because of the constant and intolerable acts of use and abuse of restraint procedures, which were poorly applied, erroneous and incorrect.”

He added that municipal police were guilty of "the lack of control of personal impulses in restraining people, violating legal norms and the highest regard for human rights.”

Tulum officers who do not pass the training courses will be fired, Hernández Gutiérrez said.

Four Tulum officers have been ordered to stand trial in the case of Victoria Esperanza Salazar, who died March 27 after a police woman was seen kneeling on her back as three male officers looked on. She had been reported acting agitated at a store.

Quintana Roo State Prosecutor Oscar Montes de Oca said an autopsy confirmed that Salazar’s broken neck “coincides with submission maneuvers applied to the victim during her detention” and demonstrate a “disproportionate” use of force by police.

In a separate incident last week, another officer was filmed apparently punching a handcuffed man.

The scenes were reminiscent of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis in 2020. Floyd was declared dead after a white police officer pressed his knee against the Black man’s neck for about nine minutes, holding his position even after Floyd went limp.

Tulum’s reputation as a laid-back, low-key beach resort unlike Cancún has been marred lately by land disputes, gang activity and increasing development.

Salazar’s death increased tensions in Quintana Roo, where police used live ammunition to ward off a throng of about 100 demonstrators in Cancun in November.