A video released online appears to show a Mexican soldier executing a suspected oil thief at point-blank range as he lays defenseless on the ground. The heavily edited video, taken from a surveillance camera, shows a car coming under fire during what the military describes as a series of ambushes that left four soldiers and six suspects dead in Palmarito on May 3. As soldiers surround the vehicle, its occupants exit and are forced to lie down in front of the car. Soldiers are then seen dragging a suspect to the same spot. He appears injured but rolls from his back onto his front. Six minutes later, a soldier appears at the side of the frame and appears to shoot the man in the back of the head, per the AP. A dark stain spreads around him, reports Reuters.
"There was already concern about the use of excessive force by the military. Now this video seems to give us the proof," says the chairwoman of Mexico's Senate Commission on Human Rights, per the Washington Post, which identifies the man shot as Raul Jimenez Martinez, 46. Mexico's defense ministry, however, says it will cooperate fully with an investigation launched by the attorney general's office on May 4. "Under no circumstances can conduct contrary to the law and human rights be justified," the ministry says. Residents of Palmarito have already taken to the streets to protest the deaths of the suspects, placing the blame on the army, though the defense ministry previously claimed the suspects used residents as human shields.