Argentine President Mauricio Macri is facing backlash for his decision to support police officer Luis Chocobar, who is accused of homicide for the fatal shooting of a man involved in a violent robbery. Macri defended Chocobar in a press conference on February 16.
The shooting took place in December in a suburb of Buenos Aires. Eighteen-year-old Pablo Kukoc stabbed a tourist after a robbery and then fled the scene. Officer Chocobar gave chase and shot Kukoc in the back as he was fleeing.
Despite outrage among center-left politicians, Macri invited Chocobar to the Casa Rosada in a show of support. Macri argues that security forces are not always to blame in shootings, a position the government is trying to reinforce. Human rights advocates, however, claim that the meeting gives a green light for police officers to use excessive force in dealing with suspects.
Opposition legislators recently filed complaints that Macri and Security Minister Patricia Bullrich have publically supported a crime, despite Chocobar not being yet convicted.
Bullrich argues that Chocobar and other police officers have made the right decision in life-or-death situations. Human rights advocates claim that the president’s actions are reminiscent of the violence committed under the Argentine dictatorship that came to an end in 1983.
Chocobar’s appeal to dismiss the charges failed, and he is expected to face a trial in the near future. Given the degree to which various political forces have both defended and accused the officer, the trial will likely pique national interest.