Puerto Rico's outlaw police force (July 27 2012) Puerto Rico’s outlaw police force (July 27 2012)

Belén Fernández the 30 year old American magazine editor and feature writer has published an article on Aljazeera titled ‘Puerto Rico’s outlaw police force’ describing how police in the US territory have been accused of civil rights abuses and overzealous crackdowns on peaceful protests. In the article Fernández states “…intense crackdowns by Puerto Rican police on peaceful protests that began in response to fiscal austerity measures, the firing of 30,000 state employees, the suspension of collective bargaining rights, and a 50 per cent increase in tuition fees – rendering education prohibitively expensive for many students. …the Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD)’s rampant violations of human and constitutional rights range from beatings with batons and nightsticks to sexual harassment of female protesters, from the administration of pepper spray at point-blank range and potentially lethal rubber bullets to the indiscriminate use of chemical agents – including tear gas dispersed from helicopters and a highly toxic form of gas not used in the US in 50 years. …As for disproportionate police-to-resident ratios, the PRPD’s employment of more than 17,000 officers for a population of 3.7 million is more than twice the national average. However, the expansion of both mainland policing activities and of a reality in which those tasked with the protection of civil rights are often the ones violating them – indicates that Puerto Rican struggles may indeed increasingly “mirror those across America”.”


Inspired by Aljazeera ow.ly/clBxl image source ow.ly/clBl4