Puerto Rico Police Chief Resigns in Face of Allegations of Police Brutality

Updated 7/2/2011 Preliminary Findings of ACLU Investigation Exposed Efforts by Government and Police Officials to Quash Puerto Ricans’ Constitutional Rights SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – The Associated Press is reporting today that Puerto Rico’s police chief, Jose Figueroa Sancha, is stepping down after less than three years on the job in the face of the U.S. territory’s rising murder rate and increasing allegations of police brutality. The resignation comes just weeks after the American Civil Liberties Union released its initial findings from an in-depth investigation revealing a violent pattern of police misconduct against the citizens of Puerto Rico that raises troubling questions about the Puerto Rican government’s commitment to First Amendment protections and human rights standards. The ACLU’s preliminary findings show that the government, and particularly the Puerto Rico Police Department, has systematically sought to violently quash protestors’ constitutionally protected expression and the rights of reporters to cover news stories. The ACLU’s preliminary report also documents numerous unpunished cases of police brutality during the past five years against low-income communities and communities of African and Dominican descent. A congressional briefing Tuesday, July 12,