About two months ago I had the opportunity to personally experience the great law enforcement of Mexico City. I was hanging out with our neighbor Erick during the week. After getting back home from his apartment he got a call from a police officer insisting that he needed to go to get his mom because she was intoxicated and had an accident. We were told that it wasn’t anything serious but that this problem could only be resolved with money.
Erick didn’t have any money at the time, so I ran into my bedroom and got about 1000 pesos and we headed out. While on our way we got two calls from the cops insisting that we get there immediately and that it was going to cost us a lot of money to keep her out of jail. When we got there his mom was in her car talking to an officer. She told us the cop was telling her to give him 500 pesos and he would let her leave and wouldn’t chase after her. She didn’t have any money, so as soon as the cops saw us arrive, they approached us immediately demanding money.
The cops told us it was going to take 5,000 pesos to keep her out of jail because she didn’t have care insurance. After talking to her for a few minutes, we found out that her car was insured. She was so drunk that she hadn’t told the officers she had insurance. We waited for about an hour for her insurance representative to arrive and deal with all of the paper work. I guess in Mexico you don’t just exchange insurance policies, but actually have to wait for a representative to take care of the paper work on site. Once the cops found out that the insurance representative was on her way, they took Erick and me off to the side and demanded we pay them or she would to jail because she was drunk. If the cops had followed protocol, she would have been taken to the police station and had a sobriety test. The cops didn’t want to deal with that because apparently it takes about 10-15 hours for the testing and paper work and they have to be present through the whole thing.
The original officers left, and the next one who arrived wanted 2,000 pesos to keep Erick’s mom from going to the police station. We told him we didn’t have that much money and didn’t have a way to get more. The cop’s solution was to take us, in his police car, to a 7-11 so Erick could add money to his cell phone to start calling his friends and asking them for money. After 20 minutes on the phone, the cop got impatient and took us back to Erick’s mom. The officer said that we needed to give him all the money we had or she was going to jail. We had 1,400 pesos, and even though it was obvious that he was annoyed with the amount, he took the money and left.
It was really weird to deal with crooked cops, but we got to go home and didn’t have to spend 15 hours longer with the police. 1,400 pesos was definitely worth avoiding 15 hours in a Mexican police station. It was also a great lesson to show how important it is to stay away from the police in Mexico.