Dominican Republic: Police 'shoot to kill', according to Amnesty International

Armed police were responsible for 15% of violent deaths in the Dominican Republic between 2005 and 2010, according to a new report by the Dominican section of Amnesty International. While most shootings were reported by police as exchanges of fire with criminals, evidence suggests that police officers have deliberately shot to kill, in clear violation of the UN Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials and the Basic Principles on the use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials. According to the report, gun ownership is widespread in the Dominican Republic, as a result of inadequate regulations and “fuelled by a widespread sense of insecurity and fear of crime and lack of trust in the National Police”. Javier Zúñiga of Amnesty International said “Authorities must ensure those responsible for the killings face justice and that steps are taken to change the policies and practices that allow these abuses to take place”.