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AP visual journalists document brutal mob killing in southern Mexico

A woman suspected in the kidnapping and killing of an 8-year-old girl, is dragged out of a police vehicle by a mob in Taxco, Mexico, March 28, 2024. AP PHOTO / FERNANDO LLANO

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AP visual journalists in the Mexican town of Taxco for an annual Holy Week procession pivoted quickly to cover the brutal mob killing of a woman allegedly involved in the abduction and killing of a young girl.

Photojournalist Fernando Llano and video journalist Fernanda Pesce arrived in Taxco, Guerrero, the annual Holy Week procession that draws thousands of tourists. Shortly after they arrived, senior photographer Eduardo Verdugo alerted the team that a crowd had gathered in town to lynch three people allegedly involved in the abduction and killing a day earlier of an 8-year-old girl. Llano and Pesce headed for the location where they captured the scene of a mob beating one of the three suspects as outnumbered police did nothing — a beating that turned out to be fatal. Such vigilante killings happen with relative frequency in Mexico, but they are rarely witnessed by journalists.

The AP team captured strong images of the chaotic scene, showing both the brutal aggression and police inaction. Ultimately it was decided to hold the graphic video, but a number of Llano’s photographs moved, showing the intensity of the anger and a manifestation of the lack of confidence in Mexico’s justice institutions.

The Guerrero state prosecutor’s office announced charges against the beaten men related to the abduction and killing of the girl but have not taken any action against members of the mob.

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