By Our Correspondent
Three policemen were found guilty of the death of 17-year-old Lucas Gonzalez, who was shot in 2021 while returning from a football practice in Buenos Aires.
A court in Argentina sentenced the officers on Tuesday to life imprisonment for the racially motivated killing of the teenager in November 2021.
Of the eleven officers who were accused of tampering with evidence, the court found six of them guilty of covering up the crime and sentenced them to prison for four to eight years.
The court acquitted the other five officers in a case that became emblematic of institutional violence in Argentina.
“It is a historic sentence for Argentina, so that there may never be cases like Lucas Gonzalez again,” the plaintiffs’ lawyer Gregorio Dalbon said. “We have never had convictions for institutional violence for racial hatred before.”
The court convicted police officers for the killing of 17-year-old Lucas González, a youth player for the Barracas Central club.
González was attacked by the officers in Buenos Aires when returning from a training session with three of his friends in a car.
When police approached in an unmarked car, the youths sped away, believing it was driven by criminals.
Their car was shot at by the police officers, who have now been convicted of “aggravated homicide with malice and racial hatred” and for an attempt to kill Gonzalez’s three friends who were with him in the car.
The gunshots hit Gonzalez twice in the head. He was taken to the hospital but died hours later.
Police had claimed there had been a confrontation with the youths, and it was found during the trial that police had planted a toy gun in their car and tried to argue that was the reason for opening fire.
Investigations also pointed to damage to Lucas’ body, such as a cigarette burn, inflicted after he was shot but before his death. The teenager’s father had alluded to this during the trial.
“They stigmatized them because they were ‘morochos’ [brown-skinned], because they came from a deprived neighborhood, but they went out to train.
“They saw them, they waited for them, they tortured them, and they burned his body with cigarettes,” Lucas’s father, Hector Gonzalez, had said before the verdict.