Mexico Protester Sets Police Officer on Fire As Man's Death in Custody Triggers Demonstrations

Protests have ignited across the U.S. and around the world over the death of George Floyd—a black man who died after a white Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes during an arrest. Mexico has been no exception.

Clashes between protesters and police in Guadalajara, the historic center of the state capital of Jalisco, turned violent this week, as outrage was further fueled by the death of a man in custody police custody identified as Giovanni López.

According to El País, López, who was 30, was arrested on May 4 by municipal police in Ixtlahuacán de Los Membrillos, a town just under 25 miles from Guadalajara.

According to the newspaper, medical reports suggest that he died of traumatic brain injury.

Video of the arrest had shown bystanders claiming that Lopez had been detained for not using a face mask to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

However, on Thursday, Jalisco Governor Enrique Alfaro responded to those claims directly, saying they were not accurate. He did not give further details, however, on why Lopez was arrested.

Alfaro claimed that reporting on the incident had been riddled with "many lies."

The violence amid demonstrations over both Lopez and Floyd's deaths, he said, was "never before seen."

At least six police officers were injured, he said, with one officer being set on fire.

According to The Guardian, a flammable liquid appeared to have been poured on the back of a motorcycle cop, before the officer's uniform was lit on fire. It is unclear what condition the officer is in.

Police cars were also set ablaze, while a number of buildings, including the state capital's palace, was also set on fire.

The governor said at least 24 protesters were detained amid demonstrations. He noted that 22 arrested demonstrators were male, while two were female.

The protests come as trust in policing in Mexico continues to falter, with the most recent survey on Public Security from the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI) suggesting low levels of trust in law enforcement bodies across the country.

An INEGI survey of more than 100,000 residents in 2019 found that just over a quarter of those surveyed felt satisfied with police services, while around 30 percent felt police contributed to a sense of security in their communities.

In the wake of Floyd's death, concerns over the efficacy of policing are being raised globally, with protesters around the world, including across Europe, demanding an end to police brutality and systemic racism in policing and society as a whole.

Mexico protest
A woman holds a sign during a protest against police brutality on June 04, 2020 in Mexico City, Mexico in the wake of the death of George Floyd. Manuel Velasquez/Getty