October 25th, 2011
12:00 PM ET

Killings by Dominican police 'alarming,' says Amnesty

Police in the Dominican Republic were responsible for an "alarming" 10.5% percent of the nation's killings last year, Amnesty International said Tuesday, citing government statistics.

A report from the human rights organization sharply criticizes the Caribbean nation's police, saying they have been behind "scores of cases of killings, torture and ill-treatment."

"Police killings should not become the way to solve the problem of repeat offenders and warn young people against crime," Javier Zuniga, the head of Amnesty's delegation to the Dominican Republic, said in a statement.

Speaking to CNN before Amnesty released its report, National Police spokesman Col. Maximo Aybar said police in the Dominican Republic were committed to protecting the public.

"We are more than aware that we are here to defend members of society, not to assault them. And that is an institutional position. In those cases where excesses may have been committed, investigations have occurred and measures have been taken: members were suspended from their posts and placed at the disposition of the courts," he said.

Police were responsible for at least 260 of the nation's 2,472 homicides in 2010, Amnesty International said, citing statistics from the National Police and the Prosecutor General. That figure marked a decrease from previous years. In 2008, for example, police were responsible for 19% of the killings in the nation. Details about the circumstances of those killings were unclear.

soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. Bimbo the Birthday Clown

    Lack of enforcement by CNN of their own Terms of Service 'alarming,' says regular poster.

    October 25, 2011 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  2. s kel

    maybe the cops there will shoot each other, you know for pratice.

    October 25, 2011 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Barbara in Harrisburg PA

    So, I hope they demand an investigation. I mean, there is a demand to investigate the killing of a tyrannical dictator (Ghaddafi), who deserved what he got, so let's start calling for investigations as vigorously as that.

    October 25, 2011 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  4. bobcat2u

    Why is this considered "alarming" CNN. Is this something that hasn't already been happening ?

    October 25, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    I have only been to the Dominican Republic one time.
    I remember that I felt enormously safe there.

    October 25, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  6. PJRG

    The problem with the Dominican Republic law enforcement is quite simply their training. There are two authorities in the DR, one is the "Policia Nacional" and the other one is "AMET". Recently, the better trained AMET officials have been the ones assigned highly populated cities because they are not as likely to pull the trigger on a burglar as their counterparts...
    The reason Policia Nacional is known for being more agressive when dealing with criminals is quite simply because they don't want to be the ones shot and killed. They do it as a defensive measure..(Which doesn't mean its justifiable) Most of the criminals in DR do carry small arms and on some occasions automatic weapons (but that is mostly when you deal with drug lords). However DR is a safe country to visit and tourism is an ever-growing business.. As in any other country, just be aware of your surroundings and stay away from sketchy areas. And you'll be able to enjoy the full spectrum of awesomeness that this country has to offer...

    October 25, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Gene Gene the Dancing Machine

    PJRG, thank you for the explanation. I visited there when my nephew got married: it was beautiful, and my family and I had no problems whatsoever.

    October 25, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    The piano that I played in DR (many years ago) was a nine-foot Steinway (D), "the" concert piano there then, but so worn that the ivory was NAILED to the keys, and the nails filed smooth. There was a 500% import duty, so buying a new one was too expensive for the concert hall.
    The island is beautiful, but I could only stay one day.

    October 25, 2011 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • PJRG

      Interesting.. Do you use to play in the Palacio de Bellas Artes? Some very brilliant musicians have walked those halls...

      October 25, 2011 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    I don't know! I play where they take me–I'm serious. Sometimes I don't know the name of the hall. I'll never forget that piano, though. My impression was that it was the main hall in town.

    October 25, 2011 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    We went to a beautiful–restaurant?–in an old part of the city, and to a club that was downstairs, as if in a cave. I'd like to go back. Never got to the beach.

    October 25, 2011 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
  11. JarHead4Life

    Would there be a connection between that bit of news and the Crime situation now in Puerto Rico which is slowing becoming the new D.R. and the East Coast of the United States in Particuliar parts of New Jersey that have been overrun by Dominican Immigrants?
    I was there for the 10 year 9/11 Anniversary and just so happened there was a Dominican parade in Paterson accompanied by gun fire and flag waving Dominicans blocking streets and forcing their views on anyone who got in their way...

    October 25, 2011 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
  12. the prophet

    I go to DR many times I speak their language and I understand their culture. last year I was there a 21 year old young man was shot by police because he did not stop at one of their rood block control post. Later I asked why he would not stop. I was shocked to learn that many of the police are not real police but impersonators whom stop motorist and take pay off
    money. My solution to this problem of Corruption there, sale arms to civilians and make a fortune, then train civilians to kill or be killed.

    October 25, 2011 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
  13. leeintulsa

    Sounds like it *was* alarming.. Now it's just disturbing..

    October 25, 2011 at 11:31 pm | Report abuse |