Puerto Rico’s top police official has resigned, at a time when the U.S. territory faces rapidly rising crime rates and allegations of police brutality and corruption.
The departure of Jose Figueroa Sancha comes in a critical point for the island. Some 568 killings have been recorded so far this year, compared with 470 reported in the same period in 2010.
Crime, which was once largely limited to poorer areas, is increasingly spreading to more wealthy and tourist districts, with shootouts occurring in major streets.
The resignation comes just weeks after the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) released a report detailing the “violent pattern of police misconduct against the citizens of Puerto Rico.”
The FBI arrested some 77 Puerto Rican police officers last year for alleged connections with drug trafficking organizations.
The police face the challenge both of cleaning their human rights record, and facing an increase in drug-related violence.