Local April 22, 2022 | 9:06 am

How the police brutally killed the young man in Ocoa

Analysis. The footprint of a crime that dismays

Santo Domingo, DR
Under cover of impunity and the terror, they have long subjected lawyers, journalists, teachers, farmers, politicians, religious, women, and young people; officers, classes, and enlisted men of the National Police beat José Gregorio Custodio to death in San José de Ocoa last Sunday.

I state it categorically: he was beaten to death, and the hierarchy of the National Police, instead of setting an example by bringing to justice immediately all those guilty of this heinous crime against a harmless young man, presented a sepulchral silence. At the same time, the murderers blackmailed doctors into saying that he died “because of an allergy” to an Omeprazole tablet.

The story of this crime of the National Police was consummated as follows:

Last Saturday, April 16, Gregorio was drinking aguardiente and drunk. He was violent, but at no time did he assault his wife, Johanny Casado, who felt vulnerable, and went to the police denouncing the situation.

At 2:11 a.m. on Sunday, a patrol car chased Gregorio down 27 de Febrero street, in the center of the city of Ocoa. He entered the Arias Clinic.

Two policemen arrived on a motorcycle, and entered the private clinic without a warrant in the early morning hours.

Five minutes later, they took him out into the street, handcuffed his arms behind his back, slammed him to the pavement, placed a boot on the neck of a man who did not move a finger while they pointed shotguns at him, phoned their base and minutes later a van arrived with four policemen who threw him in the back and took him to the headquarters located on Duarte Street on the corner of Canada Avenue.

His mother, Milandina Custodio, upon learning that he was in prison, went to investigate the case and bring him food. She went three times to the police and was never allowed to give him the food, and when she inquired about his condition, the police officers on duty always told her to send the food to him because Gregorio “was sleeping.”

The young man enters the jail at 2:20 a.m. on Sunday. In the evening hours of that same day, after beating him to death, as the photos of his body show, they took him to the San José hospital, where his mother could see him already in the throes of death, but he had time to tell her: “Milanda, I’m dying today. The police beat me to a pulp!

At 9:00 a.m. on Monday, Gregorio was dead in the San José hospital. The health center was occupied by policemen threatening the doctors to say that he died of an allergy and had no signs of violence.

Gregorio’s relatives tried to enter to see the body in the hospital morgue to check his condition, but police with shotguns blocked the entrance.

Afterward, the family managed to get the Ocoa prosecutor, Francis Valdez, to authorize them to enter; they checked the corpse, took photos and videos, verified that it was full of blunt blows from head to toe, which the prosecutor also observed and then admitted in an interview with the radio station Zol 106, that it had signs of violence and he had the evidence.

He was beaten to a pulp
Even though the hospital staff informed the family that Gregorio was “beaten to a pulp,” the police officers were in charge of instilling terror in the doctors so that they would write that the bruises he had all over his body were an “allergy” that would have finally provoked a shock that killed a young man full of health. I informed high levels of the Police an hour after Gregorio’s death in the interest that they act diligently to clarify the crime and prevent the “image” of the National Police and its current leadership from being affected by the criminal action of men in uniform and armed by the State: State-armed and appointed thugs who do not respond to the lines of respect for human rights pursued by the government of Luis Abinader.

The only answer I got from an official friend of mine was that I had to wait for “the official report.” That is the one that would be prepared by the same people who killed him and who were blackmailing everyone.

Those are the facts, and they know them as well or better than I do, the Police, the Attorney General’s Office, but they are acting with the speed of the victim’s category: a dead wretch, not an oligarch’s son.

Naturally, if it were a first-class burial, the parade of declarations and chest-beating would have reached the National Palace itself, passing by the Attorney General’s Office, the Police, Castaños Guzman of Finjus, Citizen Participation, the Catholic Church, the Evangelical Church and even the Club of the Indifferent.

The press responded
But the crime perpetrated by the Police against Gregorio found attentive ears and supportive hearts in the entire national press (newspapers, radio and television stations, digital, independent communicators, and citizens in social networks) who have exposed the case and have made it possible that those who may try to cover up this murder, do not achieve their goal and its material authors do not go unpunished.

Respond to Ocoa
When the policemen who killed Gregorio were born, I was already in the streets of Ocoa fighting for freedom and human rights so that the current generations would not have to live under the terror of uniformed criminals, armed and with the national coat of arms on their foreheads, so I warn you that I know their methods very well, but I know much more how far are buried the roots of the Ocoa people who will not bend in their demand for justice.

The people of San José de Ocoa have had to live horrors because of the behavior of the Police, but they have known how to fight and resist with honor this type of insult. I do not doubt that now will be no different. Suppose the government does not sponsor -without hesitation- the bringing to justice of all the murderers and accomplices in Gregorio’s death very soon. In that case, it will have to face a growing social movement, a furious rising tide demanding respect for life.

Every day I receive messages from family and friends -even the military- of the outrages committed by the police with absolute impunity, of which Mayor Aneudy Ortiz and at least two Ocoa deputies have spoken publicly.

One year after the horrible crime of the killing of evangelical pastors Joel Diaz and Eliza Muñoz in Villa Altagracia, the police of Ocoa are celebrating by massacring a defenseless young man, who with his blood has moved opinion, and his crime cannot go unpunished.

I warn very clearly that the Police know everything I have said here and the Attorney General’s Office much better than I and they must have it documented if they are investigating, so no one should come to me and ask me to provide more data, because I am not here to be made a joke.

In José Gregorio Custodio, the police have created a martyr in the name of totally unacceptable police brutality that the people and government will not tolerate.

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Paul Tierney
April 22, 2022 11:13 am

It is time for the chief prosecutor and the president to actively step in.