June 01, 1956
3 U.S. Youths Charge Tijuana Police Brutality
A Lakeside couple charged yesterday that Tijuana police beat and kicked their 14-year-old son and two other boys May 23 in an effort to force them to confess they had purchased marijuana cigarettes from a Tijuana taxi driver.
The couple, Mr. and Mrs. Jerry L. Helminen of Oak River Farms, filled affidavits with Robert F. Hale, U.S. consul general in Tijuana, accusing the police. They said the boys were beaten in the Tijuana police station.
Their son, Storm; a nephew, Ronald Helin, 17; and Peter McKee, 18, both of Detroit signed affidavits in which they said the police beat them with pistols and fists, kicked them and threatened to kill them.
The boys said the beatings occurred in a room on the second floor of the police station, at 8th and B streets in Tijuana, between midnight and 2 a.m. The Helminens were held downstairs by the other police.
The Helminens reported the beatings to Hale, who took the affidavits. Hale said in a letter to Helminen he had protested to Arturo Torres Valenzuela. Tijuana police chief. He said Valenzuela promised to investigate and promised that police found guilty of the assaults would be punished.
Hale said he would confer with Valenzuela at 3 p.m. today to learn the results of Valenzuela's investigation.
Helminen, a partner in a mechanical engineering company, said Ronald and Peter were visiting here after being graduated from high school in Detroit. He said the boys had expressed a wish to see Tijuana and that he took them and his family there for a visit.
He said Ronald and Peter went shopping for souvenirs while he, Mrs. Helminen and Storm waited in a cafe on Avenida Revolucion. The two boys said later that while they were shopping a taxi driver accosted them and offered to take them to a girl show. They said they rejected his offer.
Helminen said police took the party in custody after Ronald and Peter returned to the cafe. He said he and Mrs. Helminen were detained downstairs in the police station while the three boys were taken upstairs.
Ronald said in his affidavit he was forced to grasp a set of handcuffs suspended from a rafter while police beat him, kicked him with their knees and threatened to kill him.
Dr. E. P. Hering of Lakeside, who treated Ronald after the party returned to the United States, said the boy suffered hemorrhages under the skin and injuries to the muscles in the abdomen and in the base of the neck. Dr. Hering said the injuries unquestionably had been inflicted in a beating.
Peter said in his affidavit he was forced to lean against a wall while the police struck him with their fists and with a pistol. He said they knocked him down a dozen times.
Storm, a ninth-grade student in Grossmont High School, said he also was forced to lean against a wall while police struck him.
Helminen said he and his wife were forced to pay a fine of 600 pesos ($48) on a charge of disrespect for an officer of the law before being released. He said the boys were not fined.