On Nieto’s re-shared video, the two policemen are seen on top of Garcia and restraining him with handcuffs,
On July 3, about 2 pm, Jacinto Garcia noticed his fellow surfers being questioned by Mexican police officers across the street from his K-38 Surf Shop in Rosarito.
He clicked the record button on his phone, then walked across Federal Highway 1 towards the group where the 75-foot-tall Cristo del Sagrado Corazón statue can be seen on the horizon.
(Garcia sent his 1:43 video footage to me on July 12. The Spanish dialogue between Garcia and the police officers in the footage was translated.)
“They are my friends, what problem do you have?” Garcia asked the policemen.
“If you want to know, meet us at the police station,” responded one of the police officers.
“It’s the paper [license] plates,” said the American woman, “they’re trying to take the car.”
“Do you have a registration paper,” Garcia asked.
“Oh no, it’s in the mail,” responded the American man.
Garcia then looked at the two police officers. “You can check your database if the car is stolen or by his license plate, to see if it belongs to him.”
“No,” responded the police officer, “that permit is [valid] for the United States, not here”
He walked across Federal Highway 1 towards the group where the 75-foot-tall Cristo del Sagrado Corazón statue can be seen.
“Look, sir ….” Garcia argued.
“Who are you? Who are you?” yelled the police officer as he rushed Garcia.
Garcia yelped, then the video abruptly ended.
“When [Garcia] sees an injustice he acts on it, as in this case defending the tourists in the gray Tacoma truck,” said Jorge Nieto. “I am very sorry that the city authorities treated the surfers that way.”
Nieto is a Baja reporter and avid surfer; he was the second Facebook user to re-post the surfer/police altercation video footage on Garcia’s timeline; the video was filmed by an unidentified person from across the street near the surf shop.
“He was then illegally beaten and arrested,” Nieto explained, “then his wife approached the scene to claim physical abuse by the Rosarito municipal police.”
On Nieto’s re-shared video, the two policemen are seen on top of Garcia and restraining him with handcuffs, while one of the Americans appears to be filming the tussling from about seven feet away. Garcia’s wife is seen attempting to pull the officers off her husband. Garcia is then thrown in the back of the police truck.
“They also arrested his wife,” Nieto continued, “and when their neighbor, an employee of the pharmacy, wanted to take a photo of the patrol number, she was loaded [into the police truck] by force.”
Jay M. is a boogie-boarder and skateboarder from Eastlake who visited Rosarito prior to the pandemic. “Americans should always have their paperwork in order — the police were right,” he opined. “They (surfers) should bring someone like me, who speaks fluent Spanish and English; I’d go for free beer and tacos.”
Jacinto Garcia in the water. Downtown Rosarito is open for surfing from 6 am to 10 am.
On July 11, mayor of Rosarito, Araceli Brown opened their beaches in the downtown area from 6 am to 10 am. The other beaches in the city, including K-38, about ten miles south of downtown Rosarito, remained closed.
“Some who still surf Teresitas or K-38, get in through the parking lot of a [nearby] hotel and simply do not get out of the water if the police arrive,” Nieto added. “I think this altercation sends a bad image abroad, because Baja is famous for its waves.”
I spoke to Garcia on July 13, when K-38, which is about 40 miles south of the San Ysidro/Tijuana border, had 3-4 foot waves.
“I spent one night, like 30 hours in a terrible jail cell full of tweakers. They made me sign some papers and let me go.”
“Tell the readers that they are safe here. If you are stopped and you actually made an infraction, ask for your ticket and go to the police station and pay your fine. They will take your license, and you will get it back.”
“If you haven’t broken any laws, just keep asking for a ticket, and do not give them any money.”
“The Baja Board of Tourism is monitoring any abuse. Once the tourists are stopped by police, they should dial 078, and they are going to be immediately assisted with a translator. I just had an interview with a news station from Mexico City and they also interviewed the mayor; those cops were fired.”
Jay has more advice for his fellow boogie boarders and “surfer bros” that trek on down to Baja.
“Try and take an old beater [vehicle] down — not a Tacoma del año (current year model). It’s best to stay low key and not have surfboards sticking out of the bed, and if you do, cover it up with blankets and add some wood slabs so it looks like you're hauling firewood or building something.”