Latin Americans protest wave of brutal kidnappings

Sunday, June 27, 2004

MEXICO CITY -- There is a troubling trend taking hold across Latin America: Kidnappers are becoming more reckless, more brutal and more random about whom they choose to snatch off the streets. "Once they get you, they tend to be more violent, because they don't really have any coherent idea of how much money you have, or where you keep it," said Frank Holder, former head of Latin American operations for risk management company Kroll Inc. "They may decide to torture you to get that information." Revulsion over such abductions sparked a week of protests this month by housewives in Mexico, while a fatal kidnapping in Argentina led tens of thousands to demonstrate in the streets of Buenos Aires in April. A similar mass rally is being held Sunday in Mexico City.

LA police chief to review policy on use of flashlights

LOS ANGELES -- Police chief William Bratton says he will review the department's policy on using flashlights as weapons after a Los Angeles police officer repeatedly struck a black man in a beating that has inflamed tensions in the city. Last week's beating of a suspected car thief -- which was caught on videotape -- has drawn comparisons to the 1991 beating of motorist Rodney King. Three officers involved in Stanley Miller's beating will be investigated to determine whether they used excessive force. A total of eight officers have been placed on desk duty as authorities investigate. Los Angeles police are allowed to use flashlights to deliver "distraction strikes" if someone is resisting arrest.

-- From wire reports

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