Rico’s TICO BULL – I have always had my doubts of many of the officers of “policia municipal” (municipal police) who, with little or no training (my assumption) are now the authority in their communities. I see them here, in my little corner of Costa Rica, in Santa Ana, playing like in the big leagues.

Image from La Teja

In particular the municipal traffic cops, with their used motorcycles from the Policia de Transito. Up and down the narrow avenidas and calles of the canton, zooming by at full power.

So, it does not strike as odd or even surprising at the confrontation between a (presumed) official of the Policia Municipal in Cartago and the officials of the Policia de Transito, responding to a 9-1-1 call of a suspicious vehicle blocking the road outside the Anfiteatro Municipal.

According to Transito Raúl Martínez, he and his partner, on arriving at the scene, found a red Honda improperly parked and with the Marchamo and Riteve expired. As is such cases, the two Transitos began the process of seizing the vehicle’s license plates, a preferred process, quicker than calling in one of the Transito tow trucks and having to find space in the ‘patio’ (impound).

In the process of removing the license plates, the Transitos are confronted by a man identified only by his last name Loaiza, who claimed to be the owner of the vehicle and an officer of the law in the canton (Cartago) where the vehicle was.

“He came (at us) threatening, spouting obscenities and indicating that the vehicle was his, but that he was not going to give us the documentation, much less we could remove the vehicle or the license plates,” Martinez said.

According to Martinez, being an officer of the law, they were giving the man the opportunity to save his ass, but, required him to provide the vehicle’s documentation and his own id.

That is when things got out of control.


Image from La Teja

In Matinez’s version, Loaiza became angry and lunged himself at the Transitos and got into a scuffle with them and “he (Loaiza) stepped back and pulled out his regulation weapon” and then ran off before he could be arrested, taking cover in his “caseta de oficial” (guardhouse) and would not come out.


A fine example of a lawman knowing the law and that the Transitos, nor the officials of the Fuerza Publica (national police) who had been called in for back up, could force him out.

Martínez assures he as a video taken with a cellular phone of the confrontation and would be today, Thursday, be filing a denuncia with the Fiscalia (Prosecutor’s Office).

At the time, all Martinez and his partner could do, is issue a ¢53,000 colones fine against the vehicle for obstructing a public road and tow it to the impound. As to the Riteve and Marchamo, given that Loaiza would not provide the documentation or his id, nothing could be done to that respect.

Of course, this municipal lawman knew the law and exactly what to do.


Image from La Teja

And these are the ones that demand from us respect and to follow the law?


To close this note, contacted by La Teja, Loaiza’s version is that he had broken off with his girlfriend hours earlier and her getting back at him was to call 9-1-1 about the vehicle. She knew.

He said that she had told him of her intentions, to make trouble for him, that she just wanted the traffic cops to seize the plates. She knew well the headache involved in that and have to make his car legal again before he could the plates back.

She too appears to be schooled in the law. The law of the jungle.

What is missing in all of this is Loaiza’s apology for his behavior, for the violence towards fellow members of the law (the Transitos) and poor judgment in the situation, being a lawman and all.

Even worse is the position of Loaiza’s boss, who told La Teja reporter that it would be the police department’s press office to provide any statement on the matter and the promise to call back once she had more information.

Still waiting.

Me, I stay clear of these “munis”. Have had a bad feeling from when they first appeared. Still do.