The mayor of Colombia’s capital of Bogota on Monday announced the creation of a complaints and claims office against the police, following reports of abuse of power by local authorities.
Bogota Mayor Gustavo Petro made the announcement after it emerged that a young man had allegedly been viciously beaten while detained by the metropolitan police in the south of Bogota. As a countermeasure against such abuse of power, Petro announced the creation of the complaints and claims office, where citizens will be able to report incidences of police brutality.
[W]e have decided to construct…an office of citizen complaints against the police, against the arbitrary acts of public functionaries. [The office] will have open doors in the center of the city, so [that] the mayor’s office can investigate the citizens’ claims without them having to fear [reprisals] for [making] their complaints,” the mayor said, while stating that similar programs had been in place for quite some time in other parts of the world, like Hong Kong, and had been very successful.
Petro said it would be impossible to reach peace in Colombia if the arbitrary use of power and violence continued to define the relationship between the State and its citizens.
“It is not possible to build coexistence and the minimum norms which permit us to enjoy peace in our country…when what we are observing is the use of arbitrary power against [this country’s] youth,” Petro said in a radio interview with RCN.
“[I]f anything what we need is precisely that the state organizations succeed in purifying themselves from the democratic perspective…the prime responsibility in the construction of peace in the country is the public functionary,” Petro concluded.