Sen. José Luis Dalmau Santiago, Popular Democratic Party, asked the Senate to investigate the violent acts which occurred on June 30 during a protest march in front of the Capitol.
Dalmau Santiago said the Senate, an institution which represents the people and which should seek the protection and welfare of its citizens, should initiate a thorough investigation into the violence that took place in front of the Capitol.
“The possible violations of civil rights by police officers against protesters who were exercising their constitutional right to free speech must be investigated.
We must take the necessary steps to avoid these events in the future. The Senate must abide by the words of its President who has said he will “uphold the Police Chief’s vow to guarantee the constitutional and civil rights of our citizens,” said Dalmau Santiago.
The minority senate leader indicated that the videos taken by security cameras in the Capitol must be carefully studied to identify specific cases of unjustified aggression that warrant referral to the Justice department.
He explained that this investigation would “assure the commitment made by the Senate President to investigate the performance of the Police Chief in the execution of his actions.”
Dalmau Santiago’s petition was made under the Senate Resolution 1433, which orders both the Judicial Penal and Safety committee and the Judicial Affairs committee to investigate.
The senator recalled that the Bar Association carried out its own investigation of the events at the Capitol, aimed at protecting people’s civil rights.
He added that the report presented by the Bar Association includes an evaluation of the videos and photographs of the more than 48 persons interviewed and clearly demonstrates that the police used excessive and disproportionate force against the marchers.
Even though the report indicates that there were instances where the marchers cursed and hurled objects at the police, it also reveals that police officers used force, tactics and aggression that was disproportionate to the provocation they wished to repel.
The senator revealed that these violations had the full endorsement of Police Chief José Figueroa Sancha, whose background denotes a mismanagement of civil rights infractions.
Dalmau Santiago added that Figueroa Sancha, as second in command in the Puerto Rico FBI, headed an operative against leaders of the Independence Party which ended with the unlawful entry of a building in Rio Piedras.
He also said that Figueroa Sancha was a key player in the assassination of Filiberto Ojeda Rios, leader of the “Macheteros” on September 23, 2005. Ojeda Rios bled to death from wounds inflicted by FBI agents during an attack on his residence in Hormigueros.