San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Police Review Beating

The judicial branch is investigating a possible abuse of authority by police officers at a protest outside the Legislative Assembly on Feb. 5.
Footage from a government security camera shows a police officer hitting protester Evans Marín three times, while Marín made no apparently violent move.
Marín, who went to Calderón Guardia Hospital to be treated for a cut above his lip, filed a complaint with the judicial branch requesting an investigation, although he did not name the officers.
Once the Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ) gathers facts, the Chief Prosecutor’s Office must decide whether to file a complaint, said judicial branch press officer Federico Vanegas.Under the criminal code, a public official can go to jail for up to two years if he abuses his authority and violates someone’s rights.
Marín was part of a demonstration against the Central American Free-Trade Agreement with the United States (CAFTA), but he separated from the other protesters to film activity on the boulevard outside the assembly. Camera footage shows Marín speaking to two police officers, then following them closely with his video camera. The gist of their conversation is unclear.
One officer then turned toward Marín and hit him, according to footage. As Marín walked away, the officer hit him twice more in the face.Marín clutched his face and sunk to the ground. The other protesters and more police officers then entered the scene and fistfights ensued.
Raul Rivera, head of the police intervention unit, said protester José Luis Bertone punched a police officer in the nose and ribs, sending him to Calderón Guardia Hospital.
Bertone acknowledged that he punched the officer, but said it was in the shoulder.
Bertone was briefly arrested then released. About 500 people descended on the boulevard Monday and Tuesday to protest CAFTA and alleged abuses by the police Feb. 5. Anti-CAFTA leaders spoke into a microphone and music blasted from a truck at this second peaceful protest.

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