Wednesday, August 22, 2012

War of Words Between Police Chiefs

Late yesterday Juan Carlos Bonilla, the police chief, revealed on Honduran TV that the police were linked both to the 2009 murder of General Julian Aristides Gonzalez and the 2011 murder of Alfredo Landaverde.

The former police chief, Ricardo Ramirez del Cid, seems to have taken that as a personal attack.   Ramirez del Cid told a local radio program:
If anyone has evidence against me they should present it but not send me subliminal messages in the media trying to blemish the image of retired officials, attacking from the inside will not resolve anything.

Del Cid also said:
He left us guessing; he didn't mention anyone's name but he left us guessing.  That's not good because the same thing could happen to him (Bonilla) tomorrow.

He went on to complain that Bonilla knows that there are many police stations in such precarious conditions that they could not possibly be used to commit crimes!

Ramirez del Cid seems to have been referring to finances when he said "precarious conditions".  The only way I can make sense of this statement is as a reference to the motorcycle used to kill General Gonzalez, which Bonilla said left from, and returned to, a Tegucigalpa police station. The implication seems to be, hey, our motorcycles wouldn't be in good enough condition for a drive-by shooting.

Ramirez del Cid also denied that any acts of police corruption occurred during his six months as police chief.

We will simply point to the killing of Julieta Castellanos's son, which happened during Del Cid's time as police chief. It was his handling of the event for which he was ultimately fired. Thw implicated police officers were allowed to escape. This was the case that led to police corruption becoming a focus in Honduras.

There is nothing in Bonilla's comments that we can see to lead Ramirez del Cid to take then as a personal attack.

It may be a guilty conscience.

Ramirez del Cid is one of 11 high ranking police who failed to show up for their appointment for the process being employed to identify sources of corruption in the Honduran police. The group not complying with the law includes pretty much everyone in the police command before Bonilla was appointed. Ramirez del Cid was the man in charge.

Del Cid is still an active duty police officer despite having no duties.  He still receives a salary, and therefore must submit to the tests under the law passed by Congress. The process he is ducking involves drug tests, psychological tests, financial investigation, and answering standardized questions while connected to a lie detector. 

Instead, he says he's asked to retire. But that isn't stopping him from launching a war of words with his successor.

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