LA LIGUA – According to the police, the intent of a break-in at a police station was to steal armament, munitions, and portable radios. The first detained in relation to the crime was a police officer. National prosecutors are investigating the possibility that the break-in was a hoax perpetrated by the detained officer.
Early on Monday morning, Mar. 2, seven individuals broke into a police station in the city of La Ligua. During the break in, the perpetrators injured the on-duty Carabinero (Chilean national police). They stole a revolver and a 9 mm, ammunition for both weapons, and two portable radios. While making their get away, they also fired shots at the building.
At first, it was believed that members of the primera linea (the hooded protesters that directly confront the police during protests) had carried out the break-in due to the graffiti that was found inside the station.
— Infogate (@infogatecl) March 2, 2020
Later in the day, however, national prosecutors presented charges against an officer who was involved in the planning of the break-in. The individual was apprehended for illegal possession of a firearm and promptly dismissed from the Carabineros. The institution further distanced itself from the events by tweeting, “In relation to the events in La Ligua[:] You have to differentiate the commitment of the immense majority of Carabineros in benefit for the community.”
En relación a los hechos ocurridos en el Retén Valle Hermoso de La Ligua, hay que diferenciar el servicio y compromiso de la inmensa mayoría de los Carabineros, en beneficio de la comunidad. Lo que sucedió allí fue detectado, denunciado y el funcionario, dado de baja. pic.twitter.com/r9LrgtB4UE
— Carabineros de Chile (@Carabdechile) March 2, 2020
Prosecutor José Ramírez Núñez is currently investigating the events. The prevailing hypothesis is that the officer coordinated with the robbers in order to attack the police station and pin the robbery on the protesters. The public ministry has prohibited the disclosure of additional details due to the sensitivity of the ongoing investigation.
Another Scandal Involving the Carabineros
This is the latest in a long line of scandals that has rocked the Carabineros of late. From the officer who coordinated a supermarket looting with his friends and mother-in-law to the numerous human rights abuse allegations since Oct. 18, the police have been in the news constantly for all the wrong reasons. This also follows earlier incidents like the Catrillanca case, in which the Carabineros killed a Mapuche, and “Pacogate,” when high ranking members of the institution stole more than CLP$28 billion (over US$34 million).
As a result of these incidents many members of the Carabineros are leaving in previously unseen numbers. Last year, nearly 650 members left voluntarily from the institution, 20% higher than in 2018.
Diego Rivera is currently a senior in University, finishing up his audiovisual degree. You can find him on Twitter as @Piover45.