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"Justicia Para Giovanni": Mexico Rises Up Against Police Brutality

Culture & Community By O. DELGADO
"Justicia Para Giovanni": Mexico Rises Up Against Police Brutality

Police violently arrested him for not wearing a face mask. The next day, he was dead.

Video shows police violently arresting a young man named Giovanni Lopez as he yells for help. The next day, he was dead, beaten, tortured, shot, and ultimately killed by blunt force trauma to the head.

On the evening of May 4th, Giovanni Lopez, a 30-year-old construction worker, was sitting down to share a meal with his family in the town of Ixtlahuacán de Los Membrillos near Guadalajara. He was not wearing a face covering.

Minutes later, a now-viral video taken by Giovanni's brother Christian shows Giovanni being violently arrested by an entire police patrol wearing assault rifles. The patrol's commandant held Giovanni in a chokehold while cops punched him, says Christian.

"For not wearing a mask? What did he do to you? He's not doing anything wrong," yells a woman in the video, as Giovanni shouts for help.

"He's resisting," replies a policeman.

Giovanni can be heard screaming after police shove him into an SUV. It was the last time his family would see him alive.


His family went to look for him at the police station, but they were told he had been taken to a public hospital in Guadalajara.

When they arrived, they found his body. 

He had a gunshot wound in his foot and showed signs of torture. Cause of death was determined to be blunt force trauma to the head.

Giovanni's family say local mayor Eduardo Cervantes offered them $200,000 pesos to keep the video from going public. When that didn't work, they received death threats from the police. "That they were going to send people to do the same to me," says Christian.

The video did go public, and then viral, sparking outrage across the nation, with people demanding "justicia para Giovanni," justice for Giovanni, and for all those who have been abused and killed by police and the state.

"Estoy aquí para pedir justicia y levantar la voz a toda la gente que le ha pasado esto/I'm here to demand justice and raise my voice to all the people this has happened to," said Christian in a statement.

"No se queden callados. Esto no puede quedar impune, una muerte como varias que ha habido. Pido que se haga justicia. Yo represento a mi hermano y, si me apoyan, a toda la gente que ha muerto a manos de la policía/Don't keep quiet. This cannot go unpunished, a murder like many there have been. I ask that justice be done. I represent my brother and, if you support me, all the people who have been killed at the hands of police."

Mexico has a long history of police brutality. Police abuse, torture, extortion, and extra-judicial killings are routine in Mexico

And the people have had enough.

Long-simmering resentment and fear toward police has now boiled over and people are taking to the streets to demand #JusticiaParaGiovanni and an end to police brutality.

Thousands marched in the streets of Guadalajara, converging on La Minerva, the gubernatorial palace.

Gathered in the plaza, they chanted "porque vivos se los llevaron, vivos los queremos," "you took them alive, we want them back alive."


Protesters held a moment of silence for los desaparecidos, the men and women who have been "disappeared" by the state, and for abuses committed by police in Jalisco and around the world.


But, if peaceful protest doesn't get results, the people are willing to go further. "If there's no solution, there will be a revolution," chanted the crowd.


People around the world are rising up against generations of police corruption, abuse of power, and brutality.

If this is happening everywhere, we must recognize that there is a problem with police.

Police reforms are important, but they are not enough. Ultimately, we need a different model of policing, because the system may be too corrupt for rehabilitation.

But reforms are a good place to start.

Justicia para Giovanni. Justice for all.

Please visit 8cantwait.org to demand police reform in your city.