Mexico City – Authorities in the Mexican capital will release a security video that apparently shows four police officers beating a Nigerian man who subsequently died at a hospital after being run over by a car, sources close to the victim said.
The Citizen's Committee in Defense of the Naturalized and Afro-Mexicans, or CCDNA, denounced the case of Isaac Echinedu Nwachukwu - who died in the pre-dawn hours of May 11 after the hit-and-run incident - as a racially related hate crime and demanded the officers serve prison time.
CCDNA President Wilner Metelus led a protest Thursday outside the offices of the Mexico City municipal government in the company of Ludovina Castillo Garcia, Echinedu's wife.
They had threatened to launch a hunger strike if they were not received by leftist Mayor Marcelo Ebrard, who personally met with the two in his office minutes after the protest began.
After the meeting, Metelus told Efe that Ebrard and his security Cabinet told them that in the coming days they will release the complete video footage taken by a municipal police security camera in the capital's Colonia Obrera neighborhood, where the incidents occurred.
In recent days, Mexico City's District Attorney's Office released a brief clip of the security video that shows Echinedu running toward a moving police car before being grabbed by an officer on foot and taken out of the view of the camera.
The two officers in the patrol car also are seen getting out of the vehicle and running toward the place where Echinedu had been taken.
According to Metelus, while looking for a taxi on May 10 after celebrating Mother's Day with his wife and mother-in-law, Echinedu was approached by police officers Cesar Elizarraras Martinez, 32, and Alfonso Romero Salinas, 49, who allegedly taunted him with racist slurs.
That led to an altercation in which Elizarraras, Romero and two other police officers - Marino Gutierrez Martinez and Nabor Casanova Pedroza - beat the victim unconscious while his wife looked on.
While receiving treatment from paramedics, Echinedu regained consciousness and ran in a state of panic into the street, where he was run over by the car.
According to the Mexico City DA's office, the paramedics said that prior to being run over Echinedu had swollen lips, blood in his mouth, missing teeth and a head wound.
The four police officers must be brought to justice, said Metelus, who added that Mexico City cops routinely stop black men on the street and ask where they are going based purely on the color of their skin.
Only two of the police officers suspected in the beating have given a statement to investigators.
Mexico City DA Miguel Angel Mancera said none of the police officers suspected in the beating is considered a fugitive because no arrest warrants have been issued, although they have been ordered to appear before authorities.
According to the CCDNA, Mexico is home to about 70,000 blacks who are naturalized Mexican citizens and 1 million native-born Mexicans of African descent.