Chile police chief fired over indigenous shooting death

SANTIAGO: Chile’s top police chief was dismissed Thursday following new revelations about the killing of a young member of the indigenous Mapuche people by special forces.

General Hermes Soto was let go by President Sebastian Pinera a day after video footage emerged of police shooting 24-year-old Camila Catrillanca in the neck unprovoked — contradicting the official version of events.

“I have arrived at the conclusion that the Carabiners of Chile (the national police force) needs new leadership,“ Pinera said.

Soto, who assumed his position in March, told the press Wednesday the revelations took him “by surprise.”

At first, police had said Catrillanca’s death resulted from a confrotation after police pursued him on suspicion of involvement in the robbery of three vehicles.

Soto had said there were no recordings of the incidient and later claimed a camera’s memory card had been destroyed by one of the four officers participating in the operation because it contained intimate images.

Catrillanca’s death has sparked outrage in Araucania, where the majority of indigenous communities remain in conflict with the state over ancestral land rights.

At least one hundred violent incidents — both attacks and confrontations with police — have been recorded since the Nov 14 operation. — AFP

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