Human Rights

Video Appears in Campillai Case: “He Hit Her, Right?”

SANTIAGO – A video appeared in the case of Fabiola Campillai, a woman who was blinded after getting hit by a teargas canister in the face during the social protests. In the video, riot police talk about one of the officers shooting her in the face. It means an advance in a case that has become emblematic of police violence during Chile’s protests.

Fabiola Campillai walked to work in San Bernardo on Nov. 26, 2019, when she was hit in the face by a teargas canister. The event left her permanently blind. The case was held up as an example of brutal police violence unleashed on protesters during the social uprising, which left over 400 other civilians at least partially blind.

An investigation of the police officers responsible seemed to advance slowly, and, due to the pandemic, government priorities shifted to battling the outbreak. According to daily La Tercera, there is new movement in the case: the Public Prosecutor received a summary report from police which includes footage that might indicate more about who was behind Campillai’s blinding.

In the report, there is a conversation recorded by the GoPro camera of one of the officers in a patrol car in which two officers speak about the events. “He hit her, right?”, one officer asks, to which the other responds, “El Matu seems to have hit her, hit her with a …”.

However, police personnel present at the time have stated they were not aware there was someone injured and that they were “retreating with a lot of noise and the pressure of the moment.”

The Public Prosecutor works with the investigative police (PDI) on the case, and, the same day La Tercera reported on the evidence, Hector Espinosa, director general of the PDI, said that the investigations into both the Campillai case and the Gustavo Gatica case will soon come to an end.

Gatica’s case was another one that shocked the public. The student was also left totally blind after being hit in the eyes with rubber bullets. Recently, Amnesty International started a global campaign to demand justice for Gatica.

According to Espinosa, “we are committed to the truth, and the truth will always be one without political color … the country needs to know what happened.”

Interior Minister Blumel also commented on the details about the investigation of Campillai, stating that “it is in the interest of the Government, and also of the Carabineros, that all investigations move forward quickly and can find responsibilities as soon as possible”.

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