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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Justice to appeal no cause ruling against police officers

Police Commissioner Antonio López Figueroa

By The Star Staff

Police Commissioner Antonio López Figueroa said Thursday that San Juan Judge Iraida Rodríguez’s no-cause determination against six police officers charged this week for the death of 16-year-old Javier Antonio Cordero Nevárez in 2022 shows the administration is transparent and respects democratic processes.

López Figueroa said the police will continue to move forward and do what it needs to do.

“God is with my police officers,” he said in a radio interview.

Following the judge’s ruling on Wednesday, the Justice Department immediately requested an appeal of the decision, contending it presented sufficient evidence for a finding of probable cause. A hearing is slated for April 30.

As previously reported in the STAR, the Public Integrity Division of the island Justice Department on Wednesday charged six officers for the killing of Cordero Nevárez, who was slain during a police intervention in 2022.

The accused police officers are Giovanny Santiago Avilés, Roseanne Ruiz Cisneros, Félix Ahmed de Jesús Abreu, Luis Enrique Vélez Mari, Kelvin Omar Meléndez Monsegur and Paola M. Farías Santiago.

Cordero Nevares died from 15 gunshot wounds from seven police agents and one police sergeant after a chase on Aug. 1, 2022. The minor was unarmed.

According to information that emerged at the time, the police agents intervened with the teenager in the La Riviera Urbanization in the Puerto Nuevo sector of San Juan over a stolen vehicle.

The individual was wounded and died at the scene between 40th SW and 15th SW streets.

In the early hours of that same day, the police allegedly conducted surveillance to recover a stolen vehicle. Around 9 p.m., officers from the Carolina Stolen Vehicles Bureau and the Puerto Nuevo Precinct began a vehicle chase to stop an alleged stolen vehicle. They followed it to the urbanization, where the officers asked for reinforcements to intervene with the young man behind the wheel.

It was reported that when the teenage driver found himself on a dead-end street between 15 SW and 40 SW streets, the agents blocked the exit with their vehicles and got out of them to intervene with the subject.

Cordero Nevárez allegedly backed the vehicle onto the sidewalk and tried to escape, which the agents used as justification to open fire with more than 60 rounds. The youth was unarmed.

López Figueroa said the young man “tried to run over the police and that’s when the shooting started.”

In reaction to the filing of charges against the police officers, Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia told the press later on Wednesday that “the police have more than a thousand members, with the vast majority of people doing their duty.”

“But when situations like that happen, that’s what we have the Department of Justice for,” he said. “That is why we have the Public Integrity Division of the Department of Justice, the NIE [Special Investigations Bureau, by its Spanish initials], which are precisely the entities that watch over the civil rights of the population. And if they detect that there has been any kind of irregularity or failure that leads to the filing of charges against police officers, they will not hesitate to do so.”

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