Anger Over Mexican Parking Attendant Beating Video

Published January 11, 2012 5:54AM (EST)

MEXICO CITY (AP) — The case of a wealthy Mexican man seen on video beating a parking attendant at his apartment building has stirred anger among Mexicans stung in recent months by a series of class-discrimination scandals.

The Mexico City prosecutor's office did not confirm the authenticity of the surveillance camera footage posted Tuesday on YouTube. But the office issued a charge report that matched the location and actions seen on the video, and confirmed the incident involved in the allegation was indeed taped.

Prosecutors said Miguel Sacal was charged with causing injuries to the attendant in the July 8 incident in the lobby of an apartment building in the upscale neighborhood of Bosques de las Lomas.

The crime report states that Sacal asked the parking attendant to show him where the jack for his car was, and fix his flat tire.

The report said Sacal was accused of beating the attendant after he refused to change the tire. It said considerable injuries were done to the attendant's teeth and mouth.

The video that appeared on YouTube depicts a sadistic attack in which a man identified as Sacal insults the attendant, calling him a "cat" — Mexican slang that means roughly "flunky." The man then repeatedly slaps and punches the attendant and slams his head around, as other employees make halfhearted attempts to separate the two or simply stand by.

Hugo Enrique Vega, who identified himself to local media as the victim of the beating, said he told Sacal the jack was in the trunk of his car, but he couldn't leave his post because he had to be available to park other residents' cars.

Vega said he felt powerless and took the beating because he was afraid of losing his job. But he later filed a crime report against Sacal.

Prosecutors said Sacal had obtained a court injunction against arrest, a tactic frequently used by wealthy people in Mexico to avoid jail, but was still formally on trial though he was not in jail.

The office said Sacal was challenging Vega's description of the severity of his injuries.

The video was posted on the websites of Mexico's major newspapers. One reader, Rocio Romero Barron, wrote in the comment section: "What arrogance and cowardice this man displayed. I am also amazed by the indifference of this man's fellow employees."

In December, the daughter of the leading contender for Mexico's presidency, Enrique Pena Nieto, retweeted a message calling her father's critics a "bunch of idiots who form part of the proletariat." That led many of Pena Nieto's opponents to don placards reading "I'm a proletarian, too."

And in August, two upper middle-class women drew widespread anger when they were caught on video snobbily insulting, shoving and slapping a Mexico City cop, insulting his mother and calling him a "crappy wage slave."

In a country where most municipal police are dark-skinned and earn an average of only about 4,000 pesos ($300) a month, the sight of a taller, light-skinned woman spewing some of the worst verbal insults in the Mexican lexicon caused anger.

The women were later charged with resisting officers, insulting authorities and discrimination.

Mexico has an extremely unequal distribution of income, with about 47 million of its 112.7 million people living in poverty while the country also boasts of being home to the world's richest man, Carlos Slim.

(This version CORRECTS Corrects that victim was parking attendant sted doorman; updates with details)

By Salon Staff

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