ACLU: Police Brutality and Suppression of First Amendment Rights in Puerto Rico
Under the Constitution, Puerto Ricans are entitled to the same fundamental rights and protections as all U.S. citizens. But, over the last few years, police brutality and limitations on freedom of assembly and expression in Puerto Rico have escalated at an alarming rate.
First documented by the ACLU in 2004, instances of police brutality have increased both in their frequency and intensity since 2008. Since Governor Luis Fortuño came into power two years ago, peacefully protesting University of Puerto Rico students have been subjected to violent attacks and arrest, while female students have been inappropriately touched by police officers during their arrests. Legislative sessions have been closed to the public, and protesters at the legislature have been pepper sprayed, beaten and shot at with rubber bullets by police. Low-income, black and Dominican communities have suffered ongoing police brutality - including the use of lethal force - for years and rarely see abusive officers punished.