Three employees of a Mexican department store were photographed abusing a homeless couple in an attempt to remove them from the front of the store.
Journalist Heriberto Villela snapped the photos on Sunday afternoon outside the Coppel department store, in Nayarit city of Tepic. The photos showed the branch manager dousing a homeless woman with water using a hose, while two other store workers watched on.
The woman, idenfied as Ninfa, was sitting on the steps outside Coppel when she was drenched. A homeless man named Sergio was also sitting beside her.
Villela reportedly told off the store manager, reasoning that Ninfa and Sergio were on public property and not in the store. The manager replied that the couple were on store property.
Nayarit governor Roberto Sandoval Castañeda relayed his disappointment in relation to the incident. “Given the unfortunate event of humiliation against a woman, I have instructed Gloria Nuñez, the director general of Nayarit’s Institute of Women (INMUNAY), to complete an investigation in order to punish the company or people responsible,” he said.
A preliminary investigation is already underway by Nayarit’s attorney general. The store’s branch has since been closed and the three employees in the photos were arrested.
“Coppel SA reiterate that it is our priority to respect people and their dignity, and reject any conduct contrary to this principle,” Coppel department store said in a statement. The store added that it regrets the incident and apologized for what happened to those it affected.
Coppel will also cooperate with the local authoritites’ investigation.
“Let there be no doubt that when someone is attacking people, the law will always act in their defense. We will not allow discrimination and abuse against women,” Governor Castañeda said.