An ongoing security crisis in Medellin spurred the city’s police chief to imply homicide victims are “bad” people and the mayor to blame judges for not imprisoning arrested crime suspects.
The mayor’s credibility received a major blow after the arrest of his personally appointed security secretary on charges the dynasty politician was a long-time associate of the Oficina de Envigado, the crime syndicate that has effectively controlled the city after being founded by late drug lord and Congressman Pablo Escobar.
The arrest sent a shock wave through both the city’s ruling elite and underworld, and further elevated the number of homicides in Medellin.
Notwithstanding, the mayor has refused to accept responsibility. Instead, he renewed unconfirmed claims La Oficina is trying to kill him.
Medellin’s chief of police took the shifting of responsibility a step further over the weekend when he implied that the city’s growing number of homicide victims were criminals.
Good people don’t get murdered here. Those getting killed are the ones with with judicial problems.
General Oscar Gomez
The police general’s comment was met with fierce criticism as it did not only shift blame to homicide victims, but also legitimized a “type of violence that has done so much harm to our country; the badly called ‘social cleansing'” or assassinating of people considered undesirable by illegal armed groups or police, sociologist Max Yuri Gil told local newspaper El Colombiano.
On Wednesday, the police chief was forced to apologize on Caracol Radio, sort of.
I believe it is the gentleman’s thing to say that if the message I tried to convey wasn’t the correct one, this is the time to ask forgiveness, and to the men and women who make up the Metropolitan Police of the Aburra Valley; our duty is to protect to lives and honor of all people.
General Oscar Gomez
However, before the police commander had apologized, the mayor had already gotten in a conflict with the judicial workers’ union after claiming the judicial branch was to blame for the deteriorating security situation.
One rises to the occasion to catch people and then they are let free as if it were nothing.
Mayor Federico Gutierrez
Judicial workers’ union Asonal was quick to remind the mayor that the judicial branch is an independent branch of government in any democratic state.
What poor service he lends to society and what enormous damage he causes to the foundations of the Rule of Law, he who was granted the high investiture of local or national executive and disqualifies without substantiation or proof the hard work of judges and prosecutors.
Judicial workers’ union Asonal
The union accused the mayor of trying to pressure the city’s judges of to jail “any person accused by them” “to please media interests or favor political interests.”
While those responsible for security in Medellin are either in jail or blaming victims, the paramilitary violence in the west in the city continued.
In the first week of August, 18 people were assassinated, more than twice the number of homicides registered in the same week last year.