Culture

Dominican Cops Are Arresting LGBTQ So They Can Ask For Bribes

Last Sunday, squads of heavily armed Dominican National Police officers conducted a sweep of at least 4 public plazas in Santo Domingo. During their sweep of Plaza Duarte, a popular LGBQT cruising spot in the city’s historic colonial quarter, officers detained over 20 individuals. Alina Estrella witnessed the roundup and recorded the above video, which shows  scores of men in the back of a truck being led away by a convoy of police vehicles. The video has gone viral on Dominican social media.

One of the individuals detained, who asked to remain anonymous out of fear of reprisal, said that he was sitting in the park holding his partner’s hand when police officers rounded them up.

“Some men immediately bribed the police officers, so they were let go,” the witness said. “My partner and I didn’t have much money on us, so we were paraded around the city on the back of the truck and then taken to the police station.”

Both those detained and the human rights lawyers who organized to release them insist that, once in lockup, the men were denied the right to make phone calls, were charged with no crime, and were only let go that evening if they paid a bribe, or called in a favor.

“The police officers did this without the permission of the prosecutors, you can tell because the moment the city prosecutors office woke up on Monday morning, everyone got released,” said Guillermo Peña, director of Dominican human rights observatory, COIN. Peña was present at the police station.

Yimbret Telemín, and LGBTQ activist who was also at the jail, points to a larger pattern of police repression and arbitrary extra-legal detention.

“The National Police are a predatory organization,” Telemîn claims. “They get paid nothing in wages, so they do these arbitrary sweeps as a way of making a quick buck. You get out of jail quickly if you pay, or if you know somebody. This is not the first dragnet that has targeted members of our community.”

Spokesmen for the Dominican National Police Force have so far declined to comment.

Dominican cops are indeed paid miserable wages. Privates make the equivalent of 125 dollars a month, and this correspondent has personally been solicited for bribes by several officials on multiple occasions. The practice, known as a picoteo, or hen-pecking, is meant to supplement the officer’s meager wages, but often ends up targeting members of marginalized communities.

Our anonymous witness said he suffered no physical abuse and was released later that evening after a 500 peso bribe (approximately 11 dollars). But the injustice of the situation isn’t lost on him.

“How is it possible that I get detained just for sitting on a bench with my partner?” he fumed.

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Latina L.A. County Deputy Was Shot In The Face But Saved Her Partner’s Life After A Gunman Ambushed Them

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Latina L.A. County Deputy Was Shot In The Face But Saved Her Partner’s Life After A Gunman Ambushed Them

David McNew / Getty

A shooting that occurred over the weekend in Compton, California has sparked shock, alarm, and outrage.

The shooting occurred sometime around 7 p.m. on Saturday at MLK Transit Center in Compton. According to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the gunman made his way toward the passenger’s side of the deputies’ car and shot two deputies with a pistol without precedent.

One of the victims is a 31-year-old mother.

On Saturday, the sheriff’s department tweeted surveillance footage of the shooting which also captured the gunman fleeing the scene.

According to reports, the gunman fired into the deputies’ car without pretext.

“This is just a somber reminder that this is a dangerous job, and actions and words have consequences. Our job does not get any easier because people do not like law enforcement,” Alex Villanueva, the 33rd Sheriff of Los Angeles County, said in a statement. “It pisses me off. It dismays me at the same time.”

According to Villanueva, both of the deputies (Claudia Apolinar a 31-year-old mother and a 24-year-old man) were sworn in just 14 months ago and are in critical condition at the hospital. According to the sheriff’s department both are “fighting for their lives” but “it looks like they’re going to be able to recover.”

Apolinar and her partner were both shot at close range. Apolinar was shot in the face and torso and her partner sustained multiple gunshot wounds Seeing that he was in need of immediate medical treatment, Apolinar managed to make a tourniquet for him before medics arrived.

According to the New York Post, Apolinar is a former librarian who graduated from the academy last year.

“We’ll see what the long-term impact is. We don’t know that yet, but they survived the worst,” Villanueva explained.

Local officials have announced a $100,000 reward for information on the gunman and his whereabouts.

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden spoke out against the attack and condemned it in a statement calling “Acts of lawlessness and violence directed against police officers are unacceptable, outrageous, and entirely counterproductive to the pursuit of greater peace and justice in America — as are the actions of those who cheer such attacks on.”

Speaking about the incident, Democratic US Rep. Adam Schiff called the attack “cowardly.”

“Every day, law enforcement officers put themselves at risk to protect our community,” Schiff stated in a post shared to Twitter. “I hope the perpetrator of this cowardly attack can be quickly brought to justice.”

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A Man And Woman Turned Themselves In After They Assaulted An 80-year-old Man At A Grocery Store

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A Man And Woman Turned Themselves In After They Assaulted An 80-year-old Man At A Grocery Store

KTLA / Twitter

Updated: July 15, 2020.

Roberto Flores Lopez, an 80-year-old man, who was grocery shopping with his wife in Lancaster, California was assaulted last Wednesday when he went to the restroom. Now police officials in the area are seeking information on his assailant while his family awaits his recovery.

Last week, Lancaster deputies received a 911 call around 8:30 a.m. in response to an assault that occurred with a deadly weapon at a grocery store.

The assault, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Lancaster Station, took place in the 1000 block of East Avenue J and occurred in the bathroom of a grocery store. At the time, Lopez and his wife had headed to the store for a shopping trip when he went to the restroom. According to Lopez’s son, Francisco Ordorico, his father was found “inside the bathroom and he was bleeding on the floor.”

When police arrived on the scene, Lopez told them that he had been assaulted while inside the store’s restroom by someone who repeatedly punched and kicked him and then stole his wallet.

According to KTLA, Lopez “was transported to Antelope Valley Hospital and is currently being treated for facial injuries and several broken ribs.”

Ordorico told the outlet that his father had been “rushed to the hospital and placed in an intensive care unit.” KTLA also reports that even after Lopez gave the attacker his wallet, he continued to kick him and punch him in the head to the point that Lopez had to beg for his life.

Soon after a prominent local figure, asked the man involved in the battery to turn himself in, two people involved came forward.

According to Lancaster Sheriff’s Station. , the two suspects arrived at the Lancaster police station at 8 pm and are currently in custody. Investigators identified the suspects as Tamika White, 33, and Damaris Wade, 22. White is accused of accompanying Wade while he assaulted Flores-Lopez in the bathroom at the Lancaster grocery store.

According to Lt. Jon Hoyt, of the Lancaster Sheriff’s Station Wade’s family met with Flores-Lopez’s and said “Both families call for unity within our community.” Hoyt went on to say that “I think we have great ties with our community leaders,” Hoyt said. “This was a serious crime that was solved.”

Lopez’s family have also asked those capable of supporting to help cover his medical bills through his Gofundme page here.

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