The preliminary autopsy results for Facundo Molares Schoenfeld, the activist who died Thursday after being detained by Buenos Aires City police, show that he died of heart disease and suffered no traumatic injuries.
According to the forensic report, Molares Schoenfeld died from “congestion, edema, a pulmonary hemorrhage and dilated cardiopathy.” The experts wrote that the only injuries he had were “rib fractures and hematic infiltrations in the thorax,” which are compatible with RCP maneuvers, and “medical injuries in the right inguinal region.”
“No traumatic injuries showing sharp, cutting, or penetrating features were observed on the body surface,” the experts concluded.
Prosecutor Marcela Sánchez also requested Molares Schoenfeld’s medical history. A report from November 2021 — he was detained in Ezeiza Federal Penitentiary Unit Nº6 at the time — said he had a history of “arterial hypertension, heart failure, and constrictive pericarditis,” and that he was on medication.
Additional medical documentation sent by other hospitals where he had also been treated said he had suffered “successive episodes of congestive heart failure, acute renal failure, pulmonary hypertension, arterial hypertension, respiratory infection due to COVID-19,” and that he had a “dilated cardiopathy under treatment.”
Experts from the Forensic Medical Corps extracted samples to conduct histopathological and toxicological studies.
On Thursday, the prosecutor’s office ordered City Police be removed from the investigation and entrusted the task to the Argentine Federal Police Judiciary Division. They also ordered the officers who intervened in Molares’ detention be identified, and that the security cameras in the area be canvassed.
Molares Schoenfeld died Thursday afternoon after police detained and held him to the ground. The incident took place at the square by the Buenos Aires Obelisk, where the Movimiento Teresa Rodríguez (MTR) social movement was holding an assembly of around 60 people.
He was taken to Ramos Mejía Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Protests demanding justice
Members of labor, social, and human rights organizations gathered around the Obelisk Friday morning to demand justice for Facundo Molares Schoenfeld. The organizers accused Buenos Aires city mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta of being the main responsible for “using the repressive structures of the State to kill people.”
The rows of protesters were located at the intersection of July 9 Avenue and Corrientes, in the vicinity of the Obelisk, which brought traffic in the area to a complete halt.
Incidents were reported as some hooded protestors threw rocks at the Police, while another one tried to stop them, accusing them of being undercover cops. “Who are these people? Who knows them?” he screamed at him. “You’re justifying what the police are doing!”.
Political and legal reactions
Larreta, who is also running as a presidential candidate for opposing coalition Juntos por el Cambio (JxC) in Sunday’s primaries, said Thursday he “fully supported” the actions of City Police. “[They] acted with professionalism to contain the violence. In the city, violence is the limit,” he tweeted. He also said that Molares passed away “after a decompensation” during “a demonstration with incidents.”
After Larreta’s statements, ruling coalition Unión por la Patria (UxP) demanded he “abstain from making partisan statements” and “limit himself to giving an accurate answer to the victim’s family and to the citizenship as a whole.”
“The rushed conclusions from the city’s political authorities, who didn’t even wait to have the autopsy results, don’t help at all to shed light on the tragic events,” UxP wrote, adding that deaths during police operations deserve thorough investigations.
In an interview with C5N TV station on Friday, Molares family lawyer Eduardo Soares said that the prosecutor’s office denied them the possibility of presenting their experts.
“Yesterday we told the prosecutor we were going to become plaintiffs and that we wanted to present an expert witness, to which they answered: ‘We will do the autopsy and give you the results, you can then present the experts you want, but they will not participate,'” said Soares.
“[Our] theory is that they knew perfectly well the state of Molares’ health”, Soares said. “The six activists who were arrested [on Thursday] went to complain to the police when [Molares] was already detained, two other witnesses who were lying next to him also told the police about his health condition.”