Death-by-Mauling Case Headed Toward Dismissal

September 12, 2008

It appears two National Police officers will not be convicted of manslaughter in the death of Nicaraguan Natividad Canda in 2005.

Canda was killed by two rottweilers after he broke onto private property with two other men in La Lima in Cartago, east of San José, as officers looked on and did nothing (TT, Nov. 18, 2005). His death, caught on video, led to extensive news coverage, complaints from the Nicaraguan government alleging racism by Tico authorities, a case with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) and criminal proceedings against two officers for manslaughter based on dereliction of duty.

The IACHR case, filed by Nicaragua against Costa Rica, was dropped in March 2007 for lack of proof (TT, March 16, 2007).

The prosecutor in the criminal case here asked the judge for the acquittal of the two officers – Erick Sánchez and Asdrúbal Luna – last week, citing lack of proof in the case that officers did not have the training or the opportunity to kill the two dogs.

“When analysis was done, it was not possible to establish with certainty that the officers could have gotten shots off to kill the (dogs) without putting in danger the life of (Canda) and other people in the area,” states a prosecutor’s office press release.

“Prosecutors determined that the officers didn’t have sufficient technical preparation to shoot the dogs in an effective way.”

Five other National Police officers who were present the night of Canda’s death were not prosecuted.

A judge was expected to absolve the police late Thursday afternoon.

 

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