TALCAHUANO – During a police operation on Wednesday on the premises of a residence for minors in state care, Carabineros police shot two minors. Both were taken to the hospital without life-threatening injuries. On Thursday, police general Mario Rozas resigned following the outcry over the incident.
Carabineros police shot two minors on the premises of the Carlos Macera foster home, part of state child services institution Sename, in the southern port city of Talcahuano. After footage of the injured children went viral, both opposition and government actors demanded consequences. Following the outcry the shooting of the minors generated, Carabineros chief general Mario Rozas resigned on Thursday morning.
According to police reports, the two officers were called in to accompany an ambulance to the Sename residence. Upon arrival, eight minors attacked them with stones. Following the attack, one of the police officers used his service weapon and shot three times, hitting a 17- and 14-year-old. Two other minors were arrested.
No se puede seguir con una institución como Carabineros:
Es horroroso que agentes del Estado hayan disparado en contra de niños al interior de un recinto del SENAME (Hogar Carlos Macera, Talcahuano), niños ya vulnerados y que se supone están bajo el cuidado del Estado. Basta! pic.twitter.com/7rf80LExSi
— Vagabundo ilustrado (@vagoilustrado) November 18, 2020
Both injured children were taken to the hospital without life-threatening injuries. After the shooting, Chile’s Ombudswoman for Children, Patricia Muñoz, the National Human Rights Institute and UNICEF Chile demanded an in-depth investigation into the shooting on premises that should provide protection to minors. Opposition members demanded the resignation of police general Mario Rozas, under whose watch police committed some of the severest human rights violations since the return to democracy. Awaiting more details, President Sebastián Piñera canceled his participation in a ceremony hosted by the police.
On Thursday morning it became clear Rozas, who has survived three interior ministers and is seen responsible for the atrocities committed by police forces during the social uprising, would not emerge unscathed. He came to La Moneda presidential palace to resign, although local media cited sources as saying Piñera sacked him. General Ricardo Yáñez, who served as deputy director, will succeed Rozas.
Piñera said he has “the greatest admiration and gratitude for the work [Rozas] has accomplished”. Mentioning the Talcahuano shooting only briefly, he said the injured minors were “victims of an accident.”
Editor-In-Chief Boris van der Spek is the founder of Chile Today. He worked in Colombia, Surinam and the Netherlands as reporter and works with international media during major events, like the social crisis, the elections and the Pope’s visit.