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Colombian police responsible for 11 deaths in 2020 protests – report

FILE PHOTO: A man looks at photos and messages posted in front of where police officers shocked Javier Ordonez, who died after being taken into custody, in Bogota
FILE PHOTO: A man looks at pictures and messages posted in front of where police officers shocked Javier Ordonez, who died after being taken into custody, in Bogota, Colombia, September 13, 2020. REUTERS / Luisa Gonzalez / File Photo

December 13, 2021

By Julia Symmes Cobb

BOGOTA (Reuters) – Colombia’s national police are responsible for the deaths of 11 people during brutal anti-police protests last year, a United Nations-sponsored report said on Monday.

A series of protests against President Ivan Duque’s unpopular government has resulted in more than 40 civilian deaths since 2019, according to government figures.

Victims’ families and human rights groups say many of the deaths are due to harsh treatment, and they have criticized slow prosecutions of those accused of responsibility.

The death of taxi driver Javier Ordonez in September 2020, shown in a viral video lying writhing on the ground while being repeatedly tasked by police as he yelled at them to stop, was sparked multi-day protests in Bogota.

“The events of violence, abuse and police brutality that began in the early hours of September 9 with the murder of Javier Ordonez at the hands of members of the national police set off one of the most dramatic stages in the world. most severe human rights abuses in Bogota’s history,” the report was led by the country’s former ombudsman Carlos Negret and sponsored by the United Nations.

Of the 14 people killed in connection with the protests, 11 died as a result of actions by police, who openly disregarded standards for the use of force, it said.

“There was a massacre, the responsibility of which rests with the national police,” the report said.

Asked about the report, a police spokesman directed Reuters to comment earlier this year by police chief Jorge Luis Vargas, who has repeatedly begged forgiveness for the 2020 deaths and said: More than a dozen officers were subject to disciplinary action. So far, one officer has been convicted for Ordonez’s death.

The report also documents arbitrary arrests, gender-based violence and violence against police during the protests.

The report said the investigative strategy being used by the attorney general’s office risks further punishment for those guilty of the murders.

A spokesman for the attorney general’s office said it had not yet been able to study the report in detail.

(Reporting by Julia Symmes Cobb; Editing by Aurora Ellis)

https://www.oann.com/colombian-police-responsible-for-11-deaths-at-2020-protests-report/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=colombian-police-responsible-for-11-deaths-at-2020-protests-report Colombian police responsible for 11 deaths in 2020 protests – report

DUSTIN JONES

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