Authorities in Chile have arrested a police officer who allegedly threw a teenager from a bridge into a river bed during a protest.
The 16-year-old boy was in stable condition with head trauma and a wrist fracture following the incident in Santiago, Chile’s capital, on Friday.
Dozens of people protested on Saturday outside the clinic where he is being treated, condemning police and carrying signs that said: ″He did not fall, they threw him.”
"We were with the young people who participated in the demonstration, and they point out that the Carabineros de Chile participated in the event," said the Director of the National Institute of Human Rights, Sergio Micco, in a post on social networks.
Micco confirmed that the institution will present a double complaint for attempted homicide and omission of aid by the Carabineros.
"We as an institute wonder how many more tragedies like last night it is necessary to occur in Chile so that once and for all the comprehensive and profound reform" of the Chilean police takes place, he added.
The incident raised more concerns about police conduct since protests about a wide range of social and economic problems erupted in Chile a year ago. Some 31 people have died in the unrest and numerous allegations of human rights violations were filed against police, while some 460 people have been victims of injuries that have damaged their site, according to official data.
The North Central Prosecutor’s Office of Santiago accused the police officer of “causing” the youth to fall and said attempted murder charges would be filed on Sunday.
However, Enrique Monrás, chief of police in Santiago’s western area, said the youth had lost his balance and fallen over the bridge railing after the police attempted to arrest him. Ambulances were summoned so that they could provide prompt assistance, Monrás said.
The government said in a statement that it condemns any violation of human rights. It said a police officer who “does not comply with the protocols or the law” must be investigated and tried in the courts.
On Sunday evening, outlets in Chile were reporting that the police officer involved in the case was ordered to remain behind bars under pre-trial arrest.