Monday, August 15, 2011

Cultural Cues: Plainsclothes Officers

It seems that the Citizen Reporter section of the Colombian newspaper I read online has little to talk about besides crime. But that’s okay. Living overseas can be scary sometimes, and it is always a good idea to keep up on what people are doing so as to be prepared for anything.

A lot of times I hear people talk about the corruption of police in Mexico, and that is for sure. The last time I was there one of our vehicles was stopped and forced to hand over a good sum of money to the police. This case has little to do with corrupt police officers and more to do with clever criminals.

Be careful out there and remember to pray for Colombia.

“They Duped my Mother—an Elderly Lady”

The robbers posed as 'plainsclothes police' to take her wedding ring.

We have lived for many years in Chapinero, but it wasn't until July 27 that we had a clear dimension of the uncertainty that drowns us in Bogota.

I do not know what to call the guys who duped my mother—an elderly lady—to take her wedding ring on 13th Street and 57th Street at 11 am.

First, a man approached her, asking her for directions she said she did not know; then a guy approached her, a so-called 'civil police officer', to say that because of the Under-20 FIFA [World Cup] they worked in plainclothes, to 'protect citizens'.

The man asked my mom if she had the bill for the ring, and of course she said no because it has been her wedding ring for 50 years.

The guy instructed her to take it off and gave her a pen to write down people who knew her.

The pen she had a substance that stunned her, fortunately not much. Then they left telling her that they would return soon to corroborate the information.

The matter is [made worse because] the system of impersonating plainclothes officers was lived out by my son also.

One day he left class when he realized he was being followed; the guy asked to see his backpack because he said he had drugs.

My son did not believe him and went his way, but the man insisted saying he was a civil police officer, and if he did not obey him he was going to requisition him to the CAI [Immediate Attention Command] on 60th Street and 7th Street.

He said, without fear, that he'd go there to comply with the requisition, but the guy disappeared.

Police Recommendations

Colonel Javier Perdomo, commander of the Chapinero Police said that plainclothes officers do not make such demands.

"When this case demand that the procedure be fulfilled in the nearest CAI or in the presence of a patrol," he said.


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