Upset with all of this violence and corruption, some people in Guerrero have banded together to form “citizen police” groups to protect their communities. Mark Stevenson of the Associated Press describes these groups as being “vigilante outfits with no allegiance — and often outright hostility — to elected authorities. They are grass-roots attempts by locals to rein in lawlessness in some of the areas most racked by killings, kidnappings, extortion and other malfeasance.” Not surprisingly, the job can be dangerous, even fatal, but not only for the vigilantes; ordinary civilians have also been killed. For example, Stevenson notes, “Alexis Estrada Asencio, a 17-year-old bull-riding enthusiast, and five other citizens were killed in La Concepcion on Jan. 7 in a confused gunfight between vigilante forces and other townsfolk over a dispute of a proposed hydroelectric dam near Acapulco.”
Associated Press photographer Rebecca Blackwell went to Guerrero to document how some of these vigilante groups operate. Here’s what she encountered:
[Editor’s note: This post previously named Mark Blackwell as an Associated Press reporter. HIs correct name is Mark Stevenson and the post has been updated to correct that error.]
In Sight is The Washington Post’s photography blog for visual narrative. This platform showcases compelling and diverse imagery from staff and freelance photographers, news agencies and archives. If you are interested in submitting a story to In Sight, please complete this form.
More on In Sight: