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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Police officers charged in 2022 death of 16-year-old

Javier Antonio Cordero Nevárez (social media photo)

By The Star Staff

The Public Integrity Division of the island Justice Department on Wednesday charged six police officers for the death of 16-year-old Javier Antonio Cordero Nevárez, who was killed during a police intervention in 2022.

Yolanda Morales Ramos, director of the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Division, confirmed the information. 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.

The mother of the slain teenager said she hopes that with the filing of criminal charges, justice will be done for her son.

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 at 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.

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 him.

Cordero Nevárez allegedly backed up the vehicle, climbed 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.

Police Commissioner Antonio López Figueroa alleged that 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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