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Dominican Police Chief Removed

January 9, 2002

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SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) _ The president Tuesday dismissed the national police chief after allegations of systematic police brutality.

Pedro de Jesus Candelier was acting police chief for three years, and human rights activists blamed his 25,700-member force for the shooting deaths of 600 civilians while he was in charge.

President Hipolito Mejia transferred Candelier to the top job in the transit police department in Santo Domingo, the capital.

Candelier was replaced by 25-year veteran officer Jaime Martes Martinez, who headed the anti-riot police.

In May and June, Candelier’s National Police were accused of excessive force in quelling street protests that left at least 10 people dead.

According to the latest State Department Human Rights report, 250 civilians were killed by the police in the Dominican Republic in 2000. Last month, U.S. Ambassador Hans Hertell said police killings were a ``major concern″ of the U.S. government.

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