Colombia — Ten Dead in Protests Against Police Brutality

  • The protests, in the Colombian capital and in various cities across the country, were triggered by the death of a lawyer and father of two in police custody.
  • Defense Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo said on Wednesday that the two policemen who attacked the lawyer would face the necessary disciplinary action.
  • The Colombian police brutality and subsequent killing of lawyer Javier Ordóñez is very reminiscent of the brutality that was meted on an African-American man, George Floyd.

At least ten people died in Colombia Wednesday in clashes that ensued following the death of a man as a result of police violence. The authorities had initially reported seven, and later ten dead. Amongst the dead include seven young people, aged between 17 to 27 in Bogotá, and three more in Soacha, a city near the capital.

People walking near a burned Transmilenio bus after protests against police brutality in Bogota, Colombia.

In Bogotá alone, 379 people sustained injuries as a result of the clashes, 66 of whom were shot with firearms, on a chaotic night when police stations were set ablaze in various parts of the city.

Lawyer Tortured, Killed

The protests, in the Colombian capital and in various cities across the country, were triggered by the death of a lawyer and father of two in police custody. The local lawyer had shortly before been filmed begging two policemen to have mercy on him, but the two officers cruelly continued shooting at him with a Taser. 

The lawyer, Javier Ordonez, 46, was arrested in the capital of Bogota early on Wednesday on the grounds that he had broken social distancing rules after he was found enjoying a drink on the street with some friends. 

A very disturbing video depicting the incident later emerged, in which two armed police officers are seen kneeling on Ordonez as he lays in the road, while they repeatedly shot at him with a stun gun.

In the nearly two-minute video, the lawyer is heard pleading “please” and “agents, I beg you,” with witnesses from the scene also pleading with the police to have mercy on the man.The poor man eventually died hours after being taken to hospital.

Defense Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo said on Wednesday that the two policemen who attacked the lawyer would face the necessary disciplinary action. 

On Thursday, protesters returned to the streets, with police posts being targeted again by the irate protestors who attacked them with stones and set some on fire. The greatest concentration occurred again at the police station, where the two police officers involved in the death of Javier Ordóñez worked.

In addition to the Colombian capital, the protests also extended to other Colombian cities, including Medellín, Cali, Barranquilla, Manizales, Pereira, and Cúcuta.

Police officers confront demonstrators in Bogota, early on September 10, 2020.

Reminiscent of Floyd Killing

The Colombian police brutality and subsequent killing of lawyer Javier Ordóñez is very reminiscent of the brutality that was meted on an African-American man, George Floyd, in which a police officer, Derek Chauvin, pressed his knee onto the poor man’s neck.

Floyd had been wanted on an alleged forgery charge. Please, I can’t breathe,” Floyd cried. “My stomach hurts. My neck hurts. Everything hurts. They’re going to kill me.”

Shocked bystanders also begged the police to have mercy on him. Poor Floyd later passed on while undergoing treatment in hospital, sparking protests not only in the US but in cities and countries across the globe.

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Vincent Ferdinand

News reporting is my thing. My view of what is happening in our world is colored by my love of history and how the past influences events taking place in the present time.  I like reading politics and writing articles. It was said by Geoffrey C. Ward, "Journalism is merely history's first draft." Everyone who writes about what is happening today is indeed, writing a small part of our history.

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