The Palace Club becomes the ‘La Regadera’ while Mexico City authorities cover up the murder of Malcolm Latif Shabazz

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Now that the Mexico City Legislature is about to confirm another four-year term for Luis González Placencia as the head of the city’s Human Rights Commission, will he respond to complaints regarding the brutal murder of Malcolm X’s grandson last May 9? Or will he continue to cover up this vicious crime the same way he’s done in the case of the violent death of the Nigerian resident in Mexico, Isaac Echinedu, that occurred precisely two years before?

Neighbors of The Palace Club report that the dive is about to be reopened under the name ‘La Regadera’, according to an article published today in La Jornada. They say that “authorities in the Cuauhtémoc District speeded up the approval of permits for the reopening of the business” identified as a point for the sales and distribution of drugs and the business of prostitution. According to an investigation done by the Mexico City District Attorney’s Office, “the owners of the business committed severe irregularities, such as the alteration of video cameras and the modification of the crime scene.”

According to the Naturalized and AfroMexican Citizens Defense Committee, which has been demanding justice in the case from the beginning, the news is “one more proof of the corruption and complicity of the authorities with organized crime; it’s shameful and shows a lack of respect for all the citizens in the capitol city and especially the AfroMexican community. Given their decision, we don’t believe anything they say about the result of the investigation into the death of our brother Malcolm Latif.”

The Committee wonders if it’s true that Malcolm Latif really died at The Palace Club. They point out that Miguel Mancera’s Mexico City government has refused to show the press a video revealing the way the young activist died. Despite a hunger strike that the Committee held for a week outside the city government offices, Mancera was not even willing to meet with them and finally sent more than 500 riot police to violently clear out both the hunger strikers and a nearby encampment demanding justice in the cases of student activists Carlos Sinuhé Cuevas and Mario González García.

In an interview, Metelus, who also participated in a hunger strike two years ago along with Isaac Echinedu’s widow, stated that the Committee wants to avoid what happened in that case when two cops identified in a video were jailed, followed by two more, but all were released without charges shortly thereafter. On June 20, 2012, Metelus received a (not so) indirect threat from one of the recently released cops who called him at his unlisted phone number to say, “I’m Juan Carlos Rosales and I’m free.”

“Both young brothers were 28 years old,” said Metelus. “They both died at Balbuena Hospital and probably on the same date, May 10. That Mother’s Day, Isaac had left a party a little after midnight and was waiting for a taxi near the San Antonio Abad subway station. Doesn’t an Afrodescendant have the right to hail a cab on the streets of Mexico City? It seems that some cops thought not because four of them harassed and then beat him badly. As he tried to escape, he was hit by a car.” Today all the cops enjoy total impunity. Miguel Mancera was the District Attorney at the time and Manuel Mondragón y Kalb the Chief of Police. They both share responsibility in the hate crime. And Luis González Placencia and his Human Rights Commission have done absolutely nothing.

Now Mexico City authorities are following much the same pattern in the case of Malcolm Latif Shabazz. To make it appear that justice is being done, they’ve jailed two waiters who may have participated in beating him to death. “But as of now,” says Metelus, “we don’t know if that’s what really happened or who is behind the death of this young man who was the grandson of one of the most outstanding human rights defenders of the past century — Malcolm X. We want to see that video. We want an immediate response from the Human Rights Commission. We want Mancera tried for that violent police operation against the hunger strike. And we want a Truth Commission set up to investigate Malcolm Latif’s death, composed of both Mexican and international citizens. Those are our demands.”

Malcolm Latif Shabazz