Mérida, Yucatán, (August 13, 2021).- The taxi driver Gabriel Acosta Várguez, from the Mérida-Tekax route, has revealed his version of the case of José Eduardo Ravelo Echevarría as he assures that he was hit by a stone thrown by the young man from Veracruz, so he was in fact the person who called the Municipal Police and witnessed the moment of the arrest in the park of San Juan.
“The guy threw a stone at me. It hit me above my ear, right here between my ear and forehead, ” the taxi driver said in an interview.
His testimony reinforces the version that José Eduardo’s arrest was not for “looking suspicious”, but for the attack on a citizen.
Acosta Várguez has been a taxi driver for 21 years on the Mérida-Tekax route and on Wednesday, July 21st, he was waiting for passengers to get on the unit at the terminal on Calle 62 between 69 and 69-A, near the El Artillero store.
According to his version, José Eduardo appeared staggering and without reason entered the ticket office area of the taxi terminal, turned around, and left without saying a thing. Moments later he returned with a stone in his hand (more like a piece of concrete and cement from the sidewalk) and threw it at the taxi driver Acosta Várguez, hitting him in the head.
“It was like 10 in the morning, it was evident that the guy was under the effect of some kind of drug, you could tell he was high on something. He came into the place, did not say a word and left, 10 minutes later, he comes back I was carelessly looking at my cell phone, I didn’t see him coming, and suddenly, I felt the blow to my head. When the stone fell next to me I saw that it was him who threw the stone at me, and then he ran to the San Juan park”.
“We have video cameras in the terminal and there you can see how he grabs the stone and throws it at me, hitting me on the head ”, the driver said. “I reported him to 9-1-1 with my cell phone and at the time I was speaking, a Municipal Police patrol appeared on Calle 62. I pointed out the guy that threw a stone at me. One cop came alone in the municipal patrol car, he reported the incident on the radio, other police officers arrived on site and took him away ”.
The taxi driver reported that the municipal policeman who arrived first asked him if he was going to file a complaint, but since at that time he did not feel discomfort and the paramedics (who also arrived on site) informed him that it was only a scratch on the ear, he did not deem necessary.
⚡#DYInforma vídeo de la terminal de taxis colectivos de la ruta #Mérida – #Tekax que muestra la agresión de #JoseEduardo a un chofer, quien llamó a la policía. El relato del testigo, aquí: https://t.co/dn8ieNCO1t pic.twitter.com/6L8XimGYqz— Diario de Yucatán (@DiariodeYucatan) August 13, 2021
“It did not give me discomfort or headache so I did not file any complaint,” said Acosta Várguez. “In the afternoon I took off the gauze and the tape that the paramedics put on me and that was it.”
The arrest of José Eduardo
The other municipal police officers who arrived as reinforcement located and detained José Eduardo on the esplanade of the San Juan park, right where the food stalls are located, next to the church and one of the entrances to the park.
José Eduardo would be about 20 meters away on the esplanade, walking and staggering. When he saw that the policemen were addressing him, he fell to the ground.
“The guy couldn’t even speak because of how high he was,” said the taxi driver who pointed out his attacker to the police. “They detained him, handcuffed him, and took him on the bed of a Municipal Police pick-up truck“.
“Three policemen grabbed him and handcuffed him,” said the witness. “We (he and another taxi driver) went to the place where they detained him, the guy resisted and they folded his hand to handcuff him. The municipal police officers did not punch or beat him at the time of his arrest.
“The operation did not take more than 10 minutes, I saw the police vehicle making a right on Calle 69, and that was the last time I saw the man who threw a stone at me,” Gabriel Acosta Várguez declared.
Statement for the State Investigative Police
Without remembering the exact day and date, the taxi driver heard from his attacker again when he was questioned by an agent of the State Investigation Police (PEI).
“A PEI policeman came to see me and asked me about the incident that took place a few days earlier, he told me that the boy was seriously ill and could die, a week had passed when the police officer came to see me, he told me that the boy was at the hospital seriously ill. He asked me if I filed my complaint, I said no. He took my statement and left. On the third day after the PEI police officer came looking for me, the homicide police officers returned, they interrogated me again, they took the videos from the security cameras at the terminal and left ”.
Gabriel Acosta recalled that during the conversation with the municipal police officers who detained him, they commented that the boy was in the park. They had already seen him, he was calm and he was not doing anything. But for now, he believes, the drug took effect.
“Near the Bazar San Juan, on Calle 62, one of the boys who sell cakes told me that that same guy pulled his cart from the stall, but he confronted him, he walked away. This was the first time I saw this kid, we know most of the people that walk around the San Juan park, I have been a taxi driver on this route for 21 years and we know most of them, but we had never seen this guy before.”
Stay in Mérida
He wondered what would have happened if the stone had been received by a child or if he had been hit in the eye.
“The guy was on drugs, anybody could tell, who knows what he was doing here, I read in the newspaper that he had been in Mérida for four months, that his mother did not know about his whereabouts, so he left his home without saying anything to his family.”
He was asked to describe the clothes José Eduardo was wearing on the day he threw the stone at him and was detained by municipal police.
“He was dressed in a sleeveless red shirt, and blue denim pants … on the security video anyone can see how he was dressed at the moment when he attacked me”, Acosta Várguez said.
The interrogation on the street
Regarding the video that circulates on social networks and web pages, in which the young man is seen apparently under the effects of drugs and admits that he consumes “crystal”, the taxi driver has doubts, he does not know if that was the same, but he is struck by the fact that the young man has a backpack, as he does not remember seeing him carrying a backpack when he threw the stone at him.
#JusticiaParaJoséEduardo ?— Anonymous Sin Censura ???? (@anonymus_sin) August 9, 2021
José Eduardo Ravelo habría muerto tras ser detenido, golpeado y violado por policías municipales en #Mérida, según la versión de su madre ?
Policías publicaron el video de la detención, pero, al parecer, fue editado a conveniencia?
¿Qué opinan? ? pic.twitter.com/0ZCJKxhA1k
“In that video, the boy is standing against a wall, and there is no wall where they arrested him at the San Juan Park,” he said. “I saw when he was arrested on the esplanade of the park.”
A person who has a business on Calle 71 between 64 and 62 Centro, where the video of the young man in an inconvenient condition was taken, while he is questioned wearing the same clothes described by the taxi driver, reported that in that section of Calle 71 Municipal Police patrol cars sometimes stop to interrogate suspects.
However, no one saw the moment when that young man who appears in the video was at the scene.
“I didn’t even know until a person told me that the wall of the workshop appeared on the video,” said a mechanic from the Servicio Eléctrico Córdova workshop.
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