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Protests in Chile after Death of Haitian Mother in Police Custody

Staff Writer

Haiti Sentinel

Chile (sentinel.ht) – Joane Florvil, a 28-year old woman who died of a brutal blow to the head after a wrongful arrest by Chilean police has plunged a city into upheaval with protests being organized at the police station to denounce racism, xenophobia and negligence by the Chilean state and its law enforcement.

Joane Florvil died at the Clinique Catholique hospital. She was arrested on August 30, 2017 in an incident where she was accused of abandoning her child for three months. During her arrest, Joane Florvil was beaten violently in the head.

The police said the beatings were self-inflicted. Which, they say, explains why they placed a special forces helmet on her head. The helmet aggravated the wounds of the young mother who was declared dead Saturday morning according to medical professionals.

The thesis of abandonment of the child is denied by the Haitian community, which explains that Joane Florvil had left the child to the charge of a third person in order to chase and file a complaint against a Chilean who stole her purse which contained all of her documents. The Chilean was supposed to be helping her find a job.

When she was arrested, Joane Florvil tried unsuccessfully to explain her story to the police who refused to hear her, or to ask for an interpreter. This constitutes a blatant violation of the Chilean laws which require that the apprehended person must know what she is accused of. But Joane did not speak Spanish.

As the indignation swells and parliamentarians demand an explanation, the family is working to organize a “worthy” funeral to Joane Florvil and the baby’s father has been granted permission to visit his child who is still being held by authorities.

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