The Ministry of Foreign Affairs forcefully condemns the death of Mexican national Ernesto Javier Canepa Díaz, which took place on Friday, February 27, when he was shot by officers of the Santa Ana Police Department in California. The incident is deeply troubling and causes us great concern as it comes just after the recent deaths of Mexican nationals Antonio Zambrano Montes and Rubén García Villalpando, in Pasco, Washington and Euless, Texas, respectively, which are presumed to have involved the use of excess force.
Given that these incidents cannot be seen in an isolated manner, the Government of Mexico has called upon the United States Justice Department to accompany the investigation of these three cases through their civil rights division in order to ensure they are conducted with transparency and, if necessary, to make sure that criminal or civil responsibility is assigned. Accordingly, we join the call of a diverse group of organizations from civil society for the urgent need to review the policies and practices of the use of force by members of the police.
The Consul of Mexico in Santa Ana, California met with family members of Mr. Canepa Díaz and their lawyers on Sunday, March 1st. From the start, the consulate has offered them all the necessary support including assistance with legal representation and close accompaniment throughout the investigative process. The Consul of Mexico personally contacted the Chief of Police of Santa Ana and the District Attorney of Orange County and expressed his profound worry regarding the events that took place and asked for an exhaustive investigation and prompt updates on the advances made concerning the case. She also asked for measures to be taken in order to prevent similar events from happening in the future.
Through the use of diplomatic channels, the Government of Mexico has asked the Mexican Civil Rights Advisory Group (MCRAG) to explore legal options to respond to this incident and others like it, as well as strategies to inform the public on the need to review and improve policies and practices of the use of force by police departments whose mandate is to protect and serve members of the community while ensuring the safety of officials who protect them.
In additional to the consternation that the death of a third Mexican in less than a month causes, we are deeply worried by the way in which these events fracture trust between the Hispanic community and the police forces involved. We call upon police officials in Santa Ana to establish measures through which trust can be firmly rebuilt for the good of the collective safety of the community.
In these three regrettable cases, the Government of Mexico will use all available resources to fight for the interests of the victims’ families in order to ensure they have complete access to justice in accordance with the applicable laws.