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Senator Petitions México’s General Prosecutor to Pursue the Police Shooting of Leonardo Reyes Cayente

Leonardo´s mother carrying his picture

Leonardo's profile photo on Facebook

By Jesús Aguado

Antares Vázquez, the senator representing Guanajuato has called upon Mexico’s General Prosecutor Alejandro Gertz Manero—to raise the case of Leonel Reyes Cayente, a Sanmiguelense migrant to the US who was shot and killed by Guanajuato state police in the early morning hours of December 13, 2018.

Reyes was born in the community of Corralejo de Abajo. When he was 16 years old, his dad, already an American citizen, helped him get a US green card. In Texas, Leonel Reyes worked in construction. He came annually to San Miguel to celebrate specific events with his relatives here.

On December 13, according to a press release from the State Secretariat of Government, police came across a truck with its front lights on parked at the entrance to the San Damián community. When police officers approached the truck, they were fired upon. The police officers responded, and the truck set off, later colliding with a tree. Police said that in the aftermath, two men with Reyes Cayente evaded arrest and Reyes Cayente was found dead in the driver’s seat.

Reyes Cayente’s relatives said that he left his home at 8:30pm to look for cellular reception to call his girlfriend in the US. At around 1am, other relatives noticed the police lights and went to the area where police say the truck ended up. The relatives say they saw and heard state police officers manipulating the scene to make it seem like the police had been attacked.

Apparent inconsistencies

According to a document published by Mexico’s senate, an analysis of the investigation showed several inconsistencies. For example, at 2pm the next day, when police forces were working on the crime scene, a tow truck pulled Reyes Cayente’s truck to a state parking lot to be kept for further investigation, while the patrol car involved was driven off and not secured at the lot. Also, after investigators left, the family found a shell casing that had been marked and put in a bag, apparently by police, but then left behind. The relatives handed it over to the district attorney’s office and filed a complaint, but it was not entered as evidence in the case.

When Reyes Cayente’s mother decided to file a criminal complaint against the Ministerio Público, she alleges that officials there did not allow her to enter the building with her attorneys, nor did she have access to the criminal file later. The family says they continued to investigate and went to the crime scene again, where they say they found 11 other shell casings that were not found by police nor collected by the Ministerio.

In light of these and other alleged inconsistences, Senator Antares Vázquez exhorted Gertz Manero in January to move the case forward. The petition was published on March 21.

To date, the case appears to still be languishing in Fiscalía Regional D, San Miguel de Allende’s district attorney’s office.

 

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