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Home Argentine Politics and Economics The Chocobar case opened a debate on the limits of the security forces, which has not yet ceased.

The Chocobar case opened a debate on the limits of the security forces, which has not yet ceased.

The case of the policeman Luis Chocobar led to a strong discussion about the limits of the actions of the security forces and the implementation of a protocol on the use of weapons by the ministry in charge of Patricia Bullrich.

Politics and Economics
The case of police officer Luis Chocobar, who a year ago killed a thief who had stabbed a tourist in the Buenos Aires neighborhood of La Boca, led to a heated discussion about the limits of the actions of the security forces and the implementation of a protocol on the use of weapons by the ministry headed by Patricia Bullrich. The incident occurred on December 8, 2017, when U.S. photographer Frank Wolek (55) was walking through La Boca and shortly before arriving at Caminito Street, in Olavarría and Garibaldi, he was intercepted by two assailants who stole his camera and one of them stabbed him a dozen times in the chest and left him seriously wounded. Both thieves ran away, but while one managed to escape, another, later identified as Juan Pablo Kukoc (18), was intercepted three blocks away, in Irala and Suarez, by two passers-by who had seen the attack and held him on the floor. Shortly afterwards, he arrived at Chocobar (31), a local police officer from Avellaneda, who identified himself and, as he later stated, shot the criminal because he thought he was going to draw a gun. Kukoc died from the seriousness of the injuries, the other assailant, who was a minor, was arrested and the Justice also ordered the arrest of Chocobar, but days later he was released. In January, juvenile judge Luis Velázquez prosecuted the cash for "aggravated homicide for the use of a weapon and in excess of legitimate defense" and placed a seizure of 400,000 pesos on his assets. When that measure was known, the police received the support of President Mauricio Macri, who even received it in the Casa Rosada, and the chief of Staff, Marcos Peña; the Minister of National Security, Patricia Bullrich; the head of the Government of Buenos Aires, Horacio Rodríguez Larreta, and the Minister of Security of Buenos Aires, Cristian Ritondo. Then came the confirmation of the Chamber of Crime, which modified the cover to "aggravated homicide in excess of the fulfillment of duty," while the National Chamber of Criminal Cassation also rejected as "inadmissible" an appeal and the lawyers decided to appeal in complaint to the Supreme Court. On Oct. 30, the highest court unanimously dismissed a complaint filed by the police defense, which left his trial firm and now he must face an oral and public trial, at the end of which he could receive a sentence similar to that of a wrongful death. However, a new expert report released on November 5 could benefit Chocobar, as it revealed that the bullet that killed the thief first bounced off the asphalt, indicating that he did not shoot to kill. The new study was prepared by experts from the High Complexity Unit of the General Directorate of Criminalistics of the Argentine Federal Police (PFA) and points out that Kukoc received two impacts, one of them, "horizontal", in the left thigh, which fractured his femur and made him fall, and the rest, the mortal, in the lower back area. "With respect to the shot that the victim received in the posterior region of the right flank, and considering the result of the tests carried out, it is reported that it is compatible with that originated by a projectile that has suffered a deviation of trajectory by rebound," the report stated. The key to establishing that the bullet had suffered a rebound prior to entering Kukoc's body was in the analysis of the deformations and marks presented by the projectile. The expert opinion -which took into account the videos of the event, the reconstruction of the event and even the laboratory expertise on Kukoc's clothes-, also concluded that "the lack of elements from the gunpowder deflagration in the expert garments" allowed to determine that Chocobar did not shoot at point-blank range but at a distance "greater than 100 centimeters". Within the framework of the debate generated by this case, on December 3, the government launched a new regulation for the use of weapons in federal security forces that allows police officers to shoot crime suspects even when they possess replicas of weapons, flee after committing a crime, or when there is a high probability that they could cause serious harm to unarmed people. Bullrich argued that the resolution "will generate confidence in the defense of society" and changes the old doctrine that police "had to wait for the criminal to shoot first" in order to repel an aggression. However, the decision generated serious questions from the entire political spectrum, including within the governing coalition itself, and from human rights organizations that warned that this could lead to so-called "trigger-happy" cases. Meanwhile, provinces such as Buenos Aires, Neuquén and Río Negro have already advanced that they will not adhere to the protocol, as Bullrich suggested. For next year, it is expected that the modification of the regulation will have its correlate in the reform of the penal code promoted by the Government and that must be approved by Congress. Source: Telam

Publication Date: 17/12/2018

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