Police Officers in the Mexican Town, Alvarado, were stripped of their firearms and are armed with slingshots and rocks. The new weapon was allotted after most of the officers failed to clear their control tests and were declared unfit for the service. 30 out of 130 officers of the police department in Alvarado managed to pass their control tests for the use of firearms. Miguel Angel Yunes Linares, governor of the Mexican State of Veracruz, decided to strip the entire department of their guns.
The governor’s office confirmed that similar actions had been taken in other municipalities like Lxtaczoquitlan, Ciudad Mendoza, and Pueblo Viejo. Some of the local officials have accused Yunes Linares of stripping local law enforcement of the protection that they had against the criminal organizations in Veracruz.
Bogar Ruiz Rosas, the mayor of Alvarado, protested against the decision to have his local police forced disarmed by organizing a symbolic handover event where he issued police their new sidearms. During the event, Rosas argued that most of the officers who failed their control test did so because currently the department is made up of mostly newly recruited officers. The Mayor told the reporters present at the handover event, “Today we delivered slingshots to our municipal police. The citizen governor decided to take all the weapons, which disqualified him completely, as it violates our autonomy. It’s clear to us that this is a political issue and we have to be prepared to carry out our work, professionally, as you have seen us do it”.
The pictures and videos of the Alvarado police force with their new sidearms went viral on the Mexican social media and prompted a response from the Veracruz government. An official statement from the governor Angel Yunes Linares warned the policemen in Alvarado that they cannot continue doing their job without the weapons and that continuing to do so will be strictly against the law and they could be subject to prosecution.
This is not the first time Mexican police will have to fight crime with slingshots. In 2007, more than 60 slingshots were issued to officers in the violent border city of Tijuana after their weapons were confiscated by army soldiers on allegations of collusion with drug traffickers.