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Comunicado de prensa enviado a "PReb":

Serrano, Velázquez, Gutiérrez,
Ask for Independent Investigation of FBI Actions

Washington, DC, February 14, 2006 - Citing apparent "excessive use of force against journalists," by FBI agents in a recent operation in Puerto Rico three Members of Congress of Puerto Rican origin sent the following letter to FBI Director Robert Mueller today. The three Members were José E. Serrano (D-NY), Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) and Nydia Velázquez (D-NY).

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Reacción del rep. Serrano ante informe de la Oficina del Procurador General de los Estados Unidos sobre la muerte de Filiberto Ojeda Ruiz
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Comunicado de Prensa enviado a "PReb" por el congresista Serrano
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Escudo congresional

February 14, 2006

The Honorable Robert S. Mueller, III
Federal Bureau of Investigations
935 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20535

Dear Director Mueller:

As we wait for the results of the investigation we requested on the Bureau operation that led to the death of Mr. Filiberto Ojeda Rios on September 23, 2005, we are writing today to ask for another investigation into the actions of the FBI last Friday, February 10, 2006, in Río Piedras, Puerto Rico.

We are particularly troubled by what appeared to be the excessive use of force against members of the press as they attempted to cover the FBI operation. Video of the incident has been aired extensively in television coverage of the day's events and is widely available on the Internet.

All major press organizations in Puerto Rico have vigorously condemned the violent actions of FBI agents against members of the press. The Chief of Police of Puerto Rico, Mr. Pedro Toledo, criticized the close-range use of pepper spray against reporters as "completely outside of the norm." Furthermore, Mr. Toledo, along with the rest of the government of Puerto Rico, was reportedly not informed by the FBI of the operation until after it had ended.

We ask for an immediate independent investigation to determine if the Bureau's use of force was excessive or unwarranted. We request further that, if this independent investigation determines that violations of civil rights, laws or procedures did in fact take place, those responsible be brought to justice.

In our democracy, the most fundamental obligation of law enforcement agencies is to uphold the constitutional rights of citizens as well as to protect the freedom of the press. Even in Puerto Rico, where the Bureau and its agents have a reputation for behaving as if they are above the law, the FBI is not exempt from these duties.

Given the urgency of the circumstances and the nature of the incidents, we request a response from you no later than the close of business Thursday, February 16, 2005.

Thank you for your attention to our concerns.


José E. Serrano Luis V. Gutiérrez Nydia M. Velázquez

Member of Congress Member of Congress Member of Congress

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