Argentine justice is investigating the death by asphyxiation of a man during a police arrest in the province of Tucuman, a case reminiscent of the murder of George Floyd in the United States.
The facts occurred Wednesday at midday in the center of Tucumana, the capital of the province (1,200 km northeast of Buenos Aires), in front of dozens of witnesses. Others have claimed that the police beat Ceferino Nadal, 43, and pressed his neck against the ground.
A video, filmed by a passerby, shows the man overpowered by at least four men in uniform and two in civilian clothes. Maintained on the ground, he asked for help several times, according to witnesses quoted by the local press. The autopsy confirmed that the death was caused by asphyxiation.
Ceferino Nadal had been arrested for theft, but no one had reported it, and there was no evidence to incriminate him. The victim's family had reported ill-treatment during a previous arrest in February by police officers from the same police station. Ceferino Nadal had already served a prison sentence for theft several years ago.
Police soon to be heard
The police who participated in his arrest are to be heard in the coming days. The investigation comes almost a month after the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old African American, who was killed by a white police officer in Minneapolis on May 25. The autopsy showed that it was the pressure exerted by the police on George Floyd's chest and neck that caused his death. His murder sparked riots in the United States and a wave of international outrage and mobilization against racism and police violence.
The actions of the Tucuman police are already under investigation after the death of Luis Espinoza, an agricultural worker arrested at a festival on May 15 and whose body was discovered a week later in a ravine.
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In this case, eight police officers and one civilian are on remand for "unlawful deprivation of liberty followed by the death and enforced disappearance of a person", in the context of an investigation requested by the regional office for South America of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.