Reputation of Mexican Police Continues to Suffer as Drug War Rages

Reputation of Mexican Police Continues to Suffer as Drug War Rages

MEXICO CITY -- The now-infamous June 20 nightclub raid was supposed to be a crowning moment, a public relations coup, for Mexico City's newest police force. Police vans waited nearby, ready to haul off up to hundreds of offenders -- drug users, drug dealers, minors drinking booze, and club staff taking kickbacks to ignore these crimes. Even some members of the media were given front row seats to watch the cops from Unipol -- the recently launched cooperative unit comprised of beat cops and investigative police -- send its team up the stairs of the dingy antro, as such clubs are known here.

"We don't sell alcohol to minors," read one sign filmed by the press on the stairs leading up to the club. Another touted the club's no-smoking policy. Outside, police and passersby ringed the club's main entrance, waiting for something to happen.

Then it did. According to witnesses inside, the disco's manager announced that the cops would "arrest everyone," and then chaos ensued. The crowd poured towards a single entrance that, now an exit, was locked, and also blocked by the police. Those outside, police among them, watched club-goers being pressed up against the window, desperate to get out.

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