Mexico's Secretariat of Public Security suspended a highway police commander accused of firing live ammunition during a violent police operation in the town of Nochixtlan, Oaxaca in June that left ten people dead, Proceso magazine reported Friday.
The officer in question, Jose Luis Lazo Sanchez, was identified in a video from day's events as one of those present who fired his weapon. The officer's weapon was handed over to the federal Attorney General's Office.
State officials took great pains to try to downplay the officer's alleged actions.
“Of course he fired. There is one detail: the fact that he fired does not mean that there is a deceased person. One fires in the air because it frightens and makes people be contained and stop,” said Jorge Alberto Ruiz Martinez, the Oaxaca secretary of public security, as quoted by Proceso.
Victims and relatives of those killed have repeatedly accused the government of attempting to engage in a cover-up.
A spokesperson for the Committee of Victims from Nochixtlan said earlier this month that the Senate's report “favored the voice of the repressors” and ignored the testimony of the victims.
That report went to great lengths to emphasize the alleged presence of weapons in the hands of the civilians in Nochixtlan, while simultaneously failing to identify who gave the order for police to fire.
However, a different report by a group of Mexican human rights organizations pinned the blame on state security officials, whom they accused of a series of human rights abuses, including excessive use of force, arbitrary detentions and extrajudicial executions.
Government and police officials first tried to claim police did not use live ammunition but were forced to retract after photos and videos emerged showing police firing their weapons at demonstrators.
No police were killed on the day in question, meanwhile at least ten civilians were killed in different clashes throughout Oaxaca on June 19, six alone were killed in Nochixtlan.