It was late on February 25 2016 when 14-year-old José
Adrián left school and headed home. Out of nowhere,
police jumped him and threw him against their car. One
officer stomped on him, causing an injury to his neck.
José Adrián had stumbled into a street fight between a
group of youths just as it was ending. Some of them threw
stones and damaged a police car. The police arrested just
José Adrián. They didn't explain why and didn't call his
parents. Officers shoved José Adrián into their car and
drove him to the Chemax police station where they strung
him up by handcuffs. “They left me for almost, like, half
an hour there,” he says. “They hit me on my chest. Then
they slapped me across the face.” A hearing disability may
have prevented him from communicating well with police
during his ordeal.
To get their son released, José Adrián’s family had to pay a
fine and the cost of damage to the patrol car – money they
couldn’t easily afford as they lived in the impoverished
Mayan community of X-Can. Adrián dropped out of school
because of what happened.
Early in 2019, José Adrián finally received a hearing aid
and he is finally starting high school. He wants to leave
this ordeal behind, but the police who assaulted him
remain unpunished and the family is still waiting for the
government to make amends. "What I want is that they
make police better. I don't want what happened to me to
happen to other kids," he says.
The arrest of José Adrián followed a familiar pattern in
Mexico. Police target the poor and those who experience
discrimination - in this case, a young Indigenous boy.
Access to justice in his case may help prevent harm to
other Indigenous youth.
Demand justice for José Adrián.