Article by PBI-Canada
On September 10, Agence France-Presse reported: “Seven people were killed and hundreds wounded after rioting broke out in the Colombian capital Bogota following the death of a man [Javier Ordóñez] repeatedly tasered by police, authorities said Thursday.”
“Ordonez, a 46-year-old father of two, is heard repeatedly crying ‘please, no more’ in the widely circulated footage of his arrest, taken by a friend.”
That article also notes: “For many Colombians, the case evoked the killing in the US in May of African American George Floyd, also 46, who suffocated after being pinned by the neck to the road under the knee of a white officer.”
The BBC adds: “Hundreds of protesters clashed with officers outside the police post where Mr Ordóñez was held. More than 40 such posts, small police stations dotted across the city which often consist of only one room, were attacked and 17 were burnt down.”
“The mayor of Bogotá, Claudia López, condemned what she called ‘unacceptable police brutality’ but she also urged protesters to refrain from vandalism and violence. ‘Destroying the city won’t put an end to police abuses,’ the left-wing mayor said.”
That article also notes: “According to Mayor López, there have been 137 complaints of police brutality in Bogotá this year. Ms López has urged the police to investigate all the complaints.”
Human rights defenders accompanied by the Peace Brigades International-Colombia Project have tweeted responses to this situation.
CCAJAR: “We strongly condemn the murder of Javier Ordoñez by members of the @PoliciaColombia in attack with Tasers that have been banned by @ONU_es [United Nations] and considered weapons of torture.”
Franklin Castañeda (the president of the CSPP): “7 murders and 140 people injured, the vast majority by @PoliciaBogota …This entity showed last night that if we don’t deeply reform it, it will kill us all.”
Ivan Madero (the president of CREDHOS): “The national security strategy declares the population as an internal enemy. Massacre, torture and murder is the motto of the Duque government’s police and military. They are a danger to society. Change politics and the police and military system.”
dhColombia: “Be careful neither is it excessive use of force, nor is it with defenseless reforms to @PoliceColombia and ESMAD. It is a deliberate behavior of belittling life and doing harm (killing), it is by dismantling current processes of belonging, bonding, training and squads that something would be achieved.”
CREDHOS retweeted: “Video captures how police patrols attack demonstrators with indiscriminate shots, hitting a citizen. The community denounces this possible murder. Stop the massacre in Bogotá.”
Claudia Julieta Duque retweeted: “The @CIDH [Inter-American Commission on Human Rights] strongly condemns cases of police brutality and abuse. According to public information, the #8Sept Javier Ordoñez died as a result of the beatings and electric shocks given by police agents while he was subjected to the floor.”
And before news of the full extent of those killed and injured had emerged the Comisión de Justicia y Paz retweeted: “More than 12 people injured and two people killed, in the midst of protests against actions that violate human rights by the police.”
In the coming weeks, Peace Brigades International will be hosting a webinar on police brutality that will feature defenders from Colombia, Kenya, Nicaragua and Guatemala.