In its organic law, 590-16, it is typified as a very serious offense by members of the National Police, “the practice of inhuman, degrading, discriminatory or humiliating treatment of citizens who are in police custody.”
The legal warning did not contain, however, the actions of the police officers who participated in the confinement, handcuffed, of the 24-year-old man and Physical Education teacher David de los Santos, whose death due to the blows he received while he was detained in a police station, has been described as an act of barbarism and torture by the Public Ministry.
The human rights that the Dominican Constitution enshrined De los Santos did not protect him and from the moment of his arrest they were violated. He was not entitled to a call, he was jailed handcuffed, he was beaten without the authorities intervening and, although he showed signs of distress, he did not receive medical help either.
The act of requesting measures of coercion that the District Attorney presented against the seven people involved in his death, including four of the agents of the Naco police detachment, describes the “criminal” way in which the young man was placed in a cell handcuffed, where three other inmates would have proceeded to beat him until he was unconscious.
The account of the facts that are presented before the court of permanent attention that the coercion next Friday, May 13, begins with the retention of the young man in the Ágora Mall square on April 27, by the security of the establishment. In one of the shops in the square, he allegedly had an altercation with an employee…
After the detention he would have had some manifestations of violence, although the list of facts or the testimonies of the people interviewed by the Prosecutor’s Office suggest physical aggression by the victim against any person in the establishment or the police officers to whom he was later handed over.
It constitutes torture or a barbaric act, any act carried out with a method of criminal investigation, means of intimidation, corporal punishment, preventive measure, criminal sanction or any other purpose that causes physical or mental damage or suffering to people.
Torture or barbaric acts are punishable by thirty years’ imprisonment. Articles 303 and 303-4 of the Dominican Penal Code.
It would be around 7:00 at night when the young man passed into the hands of a patrol that came at the request of the security of the square and who claims to have handed him over to the Ensanche Naco Police detachment.
“Upon arrival at the detachment, the deceased today David de los Santos Correa was received by Captain Domingo Alberto Rodríguez Rodríguez, PN and by Private San Manuel González García, PN and/or Private Sari Manuel González García, PN, who served as officer of the day and sergeant on duty, respectively, who criminal and in violation of his fundamental rights, they proceeded to put handcuffs on his back and put him in the cell handcuffed together with the defendants Santiago Mateo Victoriano, Michael Pérez Ramos, Jean Carlos Martínez Peña and the Haitian national Wistel Pieer,” the file details. .
Against the former, the District Attorney requests preventive detention, while the Haitian national acts as a witness.
The request describes that, while handcuffed inside the cell, David de los Santos “shouted some words in a high-sounding voice, making a huge racket” and that this annoyed Mateo Victoriano, Pérez Ramos and Martínez Peña, who began to beat him on the head and other parts of the body, causing the police officers to spray gas Pepper”.
Spraying the gas would have annoyed the inmates even more who returned and began to beat De los Santos, “dealing blows and kicks all over his body, without the slightest possibility of being able to defend himself, since he was handcuffed with his arms backward”.
They beat him all night, says the request, even wearing tennis shoes when they got tired of doing it with their hands, and without the agents preventing it.
It is on this that the Public Ministry relies to affirm that the agents always had control of the situation, knowledge, but “above all that they actively participated to provide the active conditions for the materialization of the imputed criminal type, for what is configured co-authorship of the action.
The Dominican Penal Code, in its article 186, establishes that “public officials or officials…, the commanders in chief or subordinates of the public force who, in the exercise of their functions or because of that exercise, and without legitimate reason, use or allow violence to be used against people, they will be punished according to the nature and gravity of that violence…”
They are guilty of confinement and illegal detention, and as such, subject to the penalty of imprisonment: 1o. those who, without an order from a constituted authority and outside the cases that the law allows the accused to be apprehended, arrest, detain or imprison one or more persons; 2nd. those who provide the place for the detention or confinement to take place; 3rd. those who in any way help to carry out the arrest or confinement. Article 341 of the Dominican Penal Code.
According to the Prosecutor’s Office, what happened to De los Santos shows acts of torture and barbarism “shamefully” committed jointly by the accused members of the National Police and at the headquarters of the National Police, “a place where every citizen should feel safe and protected, never tortured”.
He then argues that torture is a clear manifestation of contempt for the human rights and “actions that embarrass us when they come from the very authority called to persecute and avoid it,” the request says.
The report of the forensic doctor who examined the body of De los Santos establishes that the young man’s death, which occurred on May 1 at the Darío Contreras hospital, was due to homicide.
He details the consequences of the blows: abrasion in the right frontal region, bilateral palpebral edema, conjunctival hemorrhage, contusions with abrasions on the elbows, circular abrasions on both wrists, edema on both wrists and the back of the hands. Also abrasions on the hypochondrium and right flank, dorsal region, lumbar region and legs, epidermolysis on the wrists, back of the hands, scrotum and lumbar region, causing severe blunt head trauma that caused his death.
without a call
The stories described in the record of request for measure of coercion they do not show that De los Santos was allowed to make a call, as established in Dominican law; In the interview that the Prosecutor’s Office conducted with a police corporal who participated in the arrest of the young man in the plaza, he was questioned if he was allowed to communicate with his relatives. The answer was: “No, I didn’t see him on the phone.”
At the time of his arrest, the family was already looking for him on social networks and among acquaintances. When they finally called the Naco detachment, already on Thursday, April 28, the agents told him that his relative was there and that he was fine, “hiding in a burlesque and inhuman way, that by that date the victim was admitted to critical conditions at the Dr. Francisco Moscoso Ruello Trauma Hospital, struggling between life and death”.
When the family of De los Santos went to the detachment the next day, the agents told them that he was in the hospital because his blood pressure had risen and they warned them that the young man had attacked himself, hitting himself against a desk.
That same agent recounts that at the time of arresting him, De los Santos was partly aggressive and that he even struggled with his partner. The corporal says he proceeded to talk with him.
“I myself asked him what was wrong with him, and he answered that nothing was wrong with him, that he came to save the world, that he was the antichrist and that he was going to own that square.”
Also in the videos that are circulating about the moments before and after the arrest of De los Santos, they show that he expresses incoherent phrases, which leads some to question the medical care that the young man may also have lacked, instead of keeping him in custody. a detachment.