Crimes and Their Punishments – Through the Ages

Punishments for Crimes through the ages – from the bizarre to outrageous, from the sublime to the ridiculous. We don’t know how lucky we are!

Many of us are apt to complain about sentences handed out by our Courts for crimes these days – too harsh, too lenient. But a quick look at some punishments for crimes through the ages, including in some countries today, we should really consider how much we really have to complain about.

Not only have punishments been truly shocking (and in some instances still are), but even some of the crimes are truly unbelievable.

Many Sydney criminal lawyers would have had their work cut out for them if some of these historical crimes were still on the statute books! Lucky for us that our complaints about the justice systems these days are limited to whether an offender should be given a jail sentence or community service, or whether a 2 year sentence is sufficient or whether 5 would have been better, and so on.

Thank goodness we don’t have to contend with crimes for which the penalty is being tortured to death by some truly unimaginable means. Criminal lawyers in Australia, as in Europe, the United States, Canada, New Zealand and others, these days don’t have to plead for the type of mercy that offenders of times gone by had to. And of course, some of these barbaric practices do still exist today in other parts of the globe, as you can see below.

Some Crimes and Some Punishments You Won’t Believe

Take a look …

Crimes and Their Punishments

Donald Trump claims stop-and-frisk had a 'very, very big impact' on New York City's crime rate — here's what the data really say

donald trump debate

Donald Trump recently came out in full support of stop-and-frisk policing. And he used the first presidential debate on Monday night to hammer home his point.

“[I]n New York City, stop-and-frisk, we had 2,200 murders, and stop-and-frisk brought it down to 500 murders,” Trump said. 

He continued: 

“But we went from 2,200 to 500. And it was continued on by Mayor Bloomberg. And it was terminated by current mayor [Bill de Blasio]. But stop-and- frisk had a tremendous impact on the safety of New York City. Tremendous beyond belief. So when you say it has no impact, it really did. It had a very, very big impact.” 

But a look at the statistics casts doubt on most of these claims, especially Trump’s praise of stop-and-frisk, a policing tactic many consider unconstitutional and ineffective today.

Let’s start with the back-and-forth between Trump and Clinton on whether crime in New York City has increased or decreased under de Blasio:

Clinton: “Well, it’s also fair to say, if we’re going to talk about mayors, that under the current mayor, crime has continued to drop, including murders. So there is …”

Trump: “No, you’re wrong. You’re wrong.”

Clinton: “No, I’m not.”

Trump: “Murders are up. All right. You check it.”

Technically, there has been a slight increase in year-to-date murders since 2013. According to the NYPD’s crime statistics database, Compstat, the city experienced 243 murders through mid-September in 2013, 228 in 2014, 257 in 2015, and 246 in 2016. That’s a 1.2% change from 2013 to 2016.

But year-to-date total crime — a compilation of seven major categories: murder, rape, robbery, felony assault, burglary, grand larceny, and grand larceny auto — has fallen significantly since de Blasio took office. Year-to-date crime as of mid-September was at 78,201 in 2013; 75,916 in 2014; 73,985 in 2015; and 72,008 in 2016, according to Compstat. As a whole, crime in those categories went down 7.9% from 2013 to 2016.

And that decrease happened while stops — the element Trump purports catalyzed the half-true uptick in crime and murder — decreased as well. 

 J. Peter Donald, assistant commissioner for communication and public information at the NYPD called the above a “great chart.”

Analysis by the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU), an organization often at odds with the NYPD, confirmed the decline in stops. The NYCLU relies on self-reported data from NYPD officers, however, which can prove problematic — especially because a recent report found that in many cases, officers failed to document the suspicion that would have warranted the stop.

Regardless, in 2013, New Yorkers were stopped by the police 191,558 times. By 2015, that number decreased to 22,939, according to the NYCLU.

Over the last several years, stop-and-frisk policing has gone by the wayside across the country. In 2013, a judge ruled New York City’s use of it unconstitutional and racially discriminating. And in 2015, a report from President Barack Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing reported that “stop-and-frisk campaigns harass law-abiding black and brown citizens without contributing to public safety.”

As for Trump’s claims that New York City went from having 2,200 murders to 500 murders, he’s likely referring to 1990, when the number of murders peaked at 2,245, up 17.8% from the previous year. More than two decades passed before that number dropped below 500 in 2012. 

NYPD historical murder rate

Most importantly, New York City’s drop in historical murder rate correlates to a nationwide drop in murder and crime rates, especially in large cities. And while it’s hard to pinpoint a cause, theories range from a decline in lead poisoning to a decline in alcohol consumption, both of which can make people less violent.

Although it’s difficult to isolate stop-and-frisk as a variable, simple data show that crime continued to decrease even coupled with a substantial decline in stops. 

In 2002, when Bloomberg — still a firm believer in stop-and-frisk’s ability to “keep New York safe” — first took office, New Yorkers were stopped by the police 97,296 times, according to the NYCLU. Stops peaked in 2011, still under Bloomberg’s purview, with 685,724 stops. By 2015, however, stops reached a pre-2002 low of 22,939. 

Despite a nearly 97% reduction in stops, the number of crimes between 2011 and 2015 barely changed. In 2011, crimes were at 74,566 and 73,985 in 2015.

While the decline in crime was starting to flatten out, The Washington Post’s Max Ehrenfreund pointed to a study from legal scholar and Columbia University professor Jeffrey Fagan and other researchers on Operation Impact, a program under Bloomberg and then-police Commissioner Ray Kelly, which placed newly graduated police rookies on foot patrol in the city’s highest crime neighborhoods, known as “impact zones.”

stop stop and frisk protest

The program presented an opportunity to study whether “investigative stops,” or stops conducted with reasonable suspicion a crime had occurred, was occurring, or was about to occur, contributed to New York City’s stark decline in crime rate, according to to the authors.

The researchers concluded, however, that Operation Impact had a “statistically significant but relatively small association with a reduction in total crimes.” That reduction was most pronounced with probable-cause-related stops — which is not how a judge ruled New York was conducting them in 2013.

In fact, the study’s authors warned against “the cost of extra intrusion and burdens on local residents that have no crime reduction benefit.”

Based on his research, Fagan told The Washington Post that Trump’s claims about stop-and-frisk are “not true, simply not accurate.”

SEE ALSO: Hillary Clinton questioned whether Donald Trump ‘owes about $650 million to Wall Street or foreign banks’ — here’s the backstory

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'Code Black' and 'Criminal Minds' return to CBS – The Washington Post – Washington Post

By ,

(All times Eastern).

Lethal Weapon (Fox at 8) Riggs and Murtaugh investigate an arms-trafficking case that begins with a noise complaint at the home of a heavyweight boxer (singer Jason Derulo).

Blindspot (NBC at 8) Weller and the team race to thwart a series of bombings across the city.

Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X (CBS at 8) One castaway deals with a crush.

Forces of Nature (WETA at 8) The docuseries explores the colors of Earth.

Speechless (ABC at 8:30) Maya has trouble adjusting to Kenneth taking over as JJ’s full-time aide.

America’s Military and the Commander in Chief (CNN at 9) President Obama joins Jake Tapper to discuss the challenges facing U.S. veterans.

Empire (Fox at 9) Taye Diggs guest-stars as a businessman who teams up with Jamal to raise awareness about gun violence.

Modern Family (ABC at 9) Mitch and Cam do some soul-searching after they overhear Lily insult her new friend.

Blackish (ABC at 9:30) Dre seeks insight when Zoey questions her faith. Daveed Diggs (of “Hamilton” fame) guest-stars as Bow’s brother.

Queen Sugar (OWN at 10) Nova’s activism leads to tension in her relationship.

[Fall TV Preview 2016: New shows, returning shows, and what’s worth watching]

RETURNING

Criminal Minds (CBS at 9) Season 12.

Younger (TV Land at 10) Season 3.

Impastor (TV Land at 10:30) Season 2.

[Five great TV shows that deserve way more buzz than they get]

Late Night

Samantha Bee (TBS at 10:30) Debate special.

Conan (TBS at 11) Kunal Nayyar, Phoebe Robinson, Jamestown Revival.

Daily Show (Comedy Central at 11) Reid Hoffman.

Fallon (NBC at 11:34) Sting, Kate McKinnon.

Colbert (CBS at 11:35) Lupita Nyong’o, John Prine.

Kimmel (ABC at 11:35) Sarah Jessica Parker, Daveed Diggs, Dan + Shay.

Corden (CBS at 12:37) Anjelica Huston, Wilmer Valderrama, Shawn Mendes.

Meyers (NBC at 12:37) January Jones, Mike Colter, Chris Lane, Danny Carey.

— Bethonie Butler

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Alleged street racers made 'moral mistakes' but not criminal: Lawyer … – Toronto Sun

BARRIE – 

A Barrie mom who was killed by alleged street racers waited 53 seconds before she decided it was safe to pull out and make a left turn, a court heard Tuesday.

By the 54th second, she was dead.

Theresa Wisch, 45, a paramedic, was killed instantly while her 13-year-old son was rendered unconscious beside her as their mangled Toyota Corolla came to a stop after a black BMW crashed into them April 4, 2014.

In closing arguments, lawyers insisted the 17-year-old drivers of the BMW and a white Mazda, who witnesses say were driving “neck-to-neck,” were not racing each other.

The two drivers, now 20, have pleaded not guilty to street racing causing death and street racing causing bodily harm. Neither can be identified under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

“This was a tragic case that involved a momentary inattention,” said Terry Hawtin, who represents the BMW driver. “It was unfortunate that Ms. Wisch proceeded into the lane the way she did … with catastrophic results.”

Several witnesses testified they saw the young men racing between 80 and 120 km/h in the commercial area of town where the speed limit is 60 km/h.

“I thought, ‘woah, woah, they are going way too fast’ — easily, easily, over 100 km/h,” eyewitness James Bruce, a professional engineer from Alliston, said in previous testimony.

He said he saw the BMW go by like “a shot,” with the Mazda trailing close behind.

“I told my wife, something bad is going to happen.”

The lawyer for the Mazda driver, Peter Brauti, insists the eyewitnesses were well-meaning, but mistaken.

“Their evidence is far, far, from reality,” Brauti said, noting it is difficult for non-experts to judge speed with any accuracy.

The Crown argued it doesn’t matter what the speed was.

“It’s the race that created the danger — not the speed,” Crown attorney Fred Temple said.

The Crown also questioned the Mazda driver’s testimony.

“His testimony was scripted, contrived and nonsensical,” Temple said, asking the judge to consider the fact that although the teen was an eyewitness to a catastrophe, he didn’t stop and didn’t call 911. Instead, Temple pointed out, the driver went shopping at a nearby store and when he left, his girlfriend took the wheel “to avoid detection.”

Brauti admitted the teens may be guilty of making “moral mistakes,” but “they did nothing criminal.”

Justice Robert Gattrell will announce his verdict Oct. 5. 

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Overreacting to the rising US crime rate could be more dangerous than the violent crime itself

police tape chicago crime

The FBI released its widely anticipated 2015 crime data on Monday, revealing that murders jumped nearly 11% from the previous year and violent crime rose by nearly 4%.

Criminal justice experts have been quick to put those numbers in context, noting that the violent crime rate is still near the bottom of a 30-year trend despite last year’s spike.

Researchers have sought to calm the hysteria over the FBI’s latest data, arguing that an overreaction to a one-year increase in violent crime could set back any progress the criminal justice reform movement has achieved. They say this shift in tactics, in turn, could wield collateral damage on communities that is as harmful, if not more harmful than the increase in crime itself.

The statistics come at a meaningful time, as both Republicans and Democrats have sought to use national crime data to support their respective positions on policing and criminal justice reform.

Republican nominee Donald Trump has already declared US crime “out of control” and lauded tough-on-crime tactics such as stop-and-frisk, while his opponent Hillary Clinton has portrayed the crime rate as being at a “historic low” and called for less aggressive policing and sentencing.

On a conference call to media, Fordham law professor John Pfaff cited the human costs to mass incarceration, including decreased life expectancy among inmates and the impact of their absence on their families and children.

“The problem is that the politics of crime in the US are structured as such that we’re going to basically ignore those costs,” Pfaff said. “The people who elect the (district attorneys), for example, tend to be richer, whiter suburbanites who don’t feel those costs — but they feel the safety they perceive.”

He continued:

“The system is designed to overreact, and in fact, the rhetoric on Monday will overreact. And we overreact to increases and we underreact to decreases … Everyone thinks there are better and smarter ways to do this. But the reaction is going to be to point to the very system that works least efficiently.”

The idea of tempering reactions to upticks in crime tends to get pegged as an exclusively liberal point of view, but it’s actually more complicated. Some conservative criminal justice reform groups are skeptical of leaning too heavily on crime data to shape policy and prosecution — meanwhile, many progressives still believe that rising crime rates can be solved by tough-on-crime tactics, according to Pastor Michael McBride, the director of PICO National Network and a gun violence prevention activist. 

“Part of what many of us are trying to actually do is win an argument even within some liberal and progressive spaces that the way to respond to concentrated expressions and upticks of violence is not to do an overreaction that will further militarize or over-police a whole community,” McBride told media.

“But we are winning the argument, and hopefully this argument can continue to be furthered — not through fear and hysteria, but through measured, compassionate, and empathetic interventions.”

SEE ALSO: One city is driving the murder rate in the US

DON’T MISS: Here’s what Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump think about criminal justice

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[WATCH] 'Criminal Minds' Season 12 Premiere Sneak Peek: Luke Alvez Goes from the Fugitive Task Force to the BAU – BuddyTV (blog)

Ready to meet Luke Alvez, the latest FBI agent to join the BAU? Coming from the Fugitive Task Force, Criminal Minds‘ newest series regular joins the team in the season 12 premiere as they continue to track down the convicts who escaped at the end of last season.

In “The Crimson King,” the BAU is tasked with capturing a killer, one of the 13 escapees, and as one of the sneak peeks released for this episode reveals, Luke has a history with the team’s next fugitive.

3 Reasons Why Criminal Minds Will Survive Its Cast Shake-Up>>>

See what Luke Alvez is like in the field:

[embedded content]

One moment, Luke’s the guy facing down the barrel of a gun and claiming he doesn’t care if the guy escaped from prison as long as he gets paid. The next, the FBI has control of the situation and Luke’s the one with the gun in his hand.

Watch Reid meet the BAU’s newest recruit:

[embedded content]

It seems that Luke has done his homework on the team, enough to know that Reid doesn’t shake hands. And as Reid knows from the file on their next fugitive, Luke caught Daniel Cullen three years ago. He was always a suspect, but they couldn’t get an ID so Luke’s partner went under deep cover and they caught him in the act. When Luke heard he broke out in May, he wanted to be the one to put him away again.

Which Criminal Minds Character Are You?>>>

Get to know Luke Alvez:

[embedded content]

As Adam Rodriguez previews, Luke comes from a totally different world. He’s been leading the fugitive task force that’s helping the BAU find the 13 escapees, and through working together, a connection is made and they realize he could be a good addition to the team.

But as Luke tries to explain to Rossi in a clip when asked why he’s not on their team full-time, he’s a “man-hunter” and “no good … as a profiler.” Rossi disagrees.  

Criminal Minds season 12 airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on CBS. Want more news? Like our Criminal Minds Facebook page.

(Image courtesy of CBS)

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Cartels are using these 'narco-submarines' to move tens of thousands of pounds of drugs at a time

narco sub

Mexican and South American drug cartels and their broader networks are entirely dependent on an ability to get their product onto US soil. And if there’s one thing that these organizations are good at, it’s changing their operating methods in order to stay one step ahead of the game. 

As the United States, Mexico, and Colombia intensified their war on drugs throughout the late 1990s and the 2000s, the cartels had to reimagine various ways that they could smuggle cocaine into the US. With billions of dollars in annual revenue at stake, no idea for getting drugs into the US buyers was considered too outlandish — Sinaloa cartel leader Chapo Guzman even pioneered the use of cross-border drug catapults.

But the ultimate in high-risk, high-reward smuggling is the “narco submarine,” homemade subs that can bring thousands of pounds of product to the US at once.

According to a US Foreign Military Studies Office (FMSO) report on narco submarines citing Drug Enforcement Administration statistics, 80% of drugs smuggled into the US in 2012 came from maritime routes. And 30% of the drugs that arrived in the US by sea were conducted via narco submarines. Like narco tanks, narco submarines show how cartels have mastered do-it-yourself engineering. Even so, around one in four of the vessels are interdicted. US authorities have captured narco subs with as much as 7.5 tons of cocaine onboard.

There are four broad categories of vessel that fall under the narco submarine label: low-profile vessels, semi-submersibles, submersibles, and towed narco “torpedoes.” 

These vessels have shown a notable leap in quality since they first debuted over 20 years ago.

The first narco sub detected in 1993 was built from wood and fiberglass, could not submerge, and could only travel at 10 miles per hour. But the FMSO notes that the latest models of subs can mask their heat signature, evade sonar and radar, and use lead siding to help mask their infrared signature, making their detection and capture extremely difficult. 

Here are some narco subs that the authorities have captured over the years — evidence of the tenacity and resourcefulness of drug trafficking organizations that have to get their product to the US at any cost.

Low profile vessels (LPVs) are one of the most common narco sub variants. These vessels sit just above the water line. They aren’t entirely submerged, but they’re still difficult to spot. 

narco sub

Their fiberglass and lead construction also render them difficult to detect through infrared. And because they sit almost below the water radar and sonar can have a difficult time spotting them.

Larger LPVs can carry upwards of 10 tons of drugs at at time.

narco submarines

The majority of narco submarines discovered have been LPVs, perhaps because cartels find them easier to construct and operate than fully submersible vessels.

narco sub

Semi-submersible narco submarines are similar to LPVs. These vessels can completely lower themselves below the waterline — except for a snorkel-like tube to ensure the crew doesn’t suffocate.

narco sub

Fully submersible narco submarines are a rarity due to the cost and technical difficulties of building a working model.

narco sub

But a few submersibles have been found over the years, and they’re impressive.

The largest was a 100-foot long, GPS-equipped craft that could dive to 30 feet and transport upwards of 200 tons of drugs at a time, according to Colombian authorities.

Narco submarine

Narco torpedoes are the least technologically advanced submersible. These empty canisters are designed to be dragged behind a camouflaged ship. In the event of detection, the tow-ship can drop the torpedo which then activates a homing signal for later pick-up.  

narco submarine

SEE ALSO: Mexican authorities discovered a ‘narco tank’ factory near the US border

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Colombia's historic peace plan has a bloody legacy to overcome

Members of the 51st Front of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) listen to a lecture on the peace process between the Colombian government and their force at a camp in Cordillera Oriental, Colombia, August 16, 2016. Picture taken August 16, 2016.  REUTERS/John Vizcaino

After four years of negotiations, progress toward concluding Colombia’s decades-long civil conflict has advanced quickly in recent months.

Since signing a bilateral and final cease-fire over the summer, the left-wing rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) have promised to stop collecting “war taxes” and declared a permanent cease-fire

The group retired this month to their final conference in the country’s southern jungles, giving the peace deal “unanimous backing” and planning to form a political party by no later than May 2017.

FARC leadership and Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos are to ratify the deal on September 26, and the deal will go before the public in a plebiscite vote on October 2.

There are numerous hurdles that Colombia’s peace plan will have to overcome for its implementation to succeed. In particular, the FARC and the Colombian government will have to overcome an ugly and violent legacy of failed political integration.

An unholy alliance

In 1984, Colombia reached a deal with FARC rebels that allowed the group and other leftist rebels to reenter Colombia’s legitimate political sphere. The Patriotic Union (UP), a political party, emerged from this agreement, forming in November 1985.

The UP performed well in Colombia’s 1986 elections, but the backlash — a violent campaign to eliminate the newly formed leftist party and its sympathizers — soon started.

Colombia politics patriotic union paramilitary violence

In 1987, the UP’s leader and presidential candidate from the previous year, Jaime Pardo, was gunned down by a 14-year-old with ties to a Medellin cartel member.

Between 1986 and 1990, some 4,000 to 6,000 members of the UP were slain. In the party’s first four years of existence, a member or supporter was killed once every 39 hours.

Ahead of the 1990 presidential election, 70% of the center-left candidates were assassinated, including UP candidate Bernardo Jaramillo, according to Greg Grandin, a historian and professor at New York University.

I believe, and I say it with all sincerity and at times coldly, that I know they are going to assassinate me,” Jaramillo said before he was killed.

The effort to extinguish the UP was carried out by a brutal chimera of state security forces, armed right-wing groups, and drug traffickers — most prominently members of Pablo Escobar’s Medellin cartel. 

Leftist rebel groups had stolen from the cartels and kidnapped members of drug traffickers’ families in the early 1980s, prompting the capos to form their own paramilitary groups.

The newly enriched drug traffickers were also motivated by what they saw as a threat posed by the UP and the ascendent political left to their growing economic interests, particularly their control of land that had often been taken by force from civilians.

“There is a direct relationship between the emergence, activity and the electoral support of the Patriotic Union and the killing of its activists in regions where the presence of that party was interpreted as a threat to the maintenance of the privileges of certain groups,” a 1992 report by the Colombian ombudsperson noted.

FARC rebels Colombia peace plan demobilization

These interests aligned drug traffickers with Colombia’s elite social classes, who for economic and political reasons also wanted to combat the left-wing guerrillas, a desire that overlapped with the strong anti-communist bent of the Colombia’s leaders and the US government at the time.

For the US’s part, officials, including the then-US ambassador to Colombia, charged that leftist guerrillas had been cooperating with traffickers, making them “narco-guerrillas,” though the extent of their cooperation at the time has been questioned. The US government took a staunchly antidrug stance, even if it had proven willing to overlook trafficking for political reasons, particularly if those doing the trafficking were aligned against communism.

The Reagan administration, according to Grandin, provided no support for the peace process and no shelter for leftists who were trying to lay down arms and commit to electoral politics.”

Members of the nascent UP Party were thus targeted by members of paramilitary groups and other rivals in a violent campaign in which the Colombian government was often complicit.

Colombia Alvaro Uribe president

The bloodshed proved their success, and as a consequence, the FARC (which continued to grow during the UP’s rise) returned to the scene as a rebel group in the 1990s, eventually assuming a larger role in the drug trade as the cartels broke up in the later part of that decade.

The FARC’s power was greatly diminished by a US-backed, Colombian-led offensive in the 2000s (led by then-President Alvaro Uribe, who opposes the current peace deal).

And the UP, which lost official recognition as a party in 2002, had its legal status returned in 2013, though now it sees itself as a leftist party, rather than socialist or communist one.

Yes vs. No

In the current environment, there are still some unpleasant reminders for FARC rebels and those linked to them of the dark days in the late 1980s. 

The paramilitary groups that hunted UP members kept at it through the 1990s, eventually becoming full-fledged criminal groups. Those paramilitaries disarmed in the mid-2000s — and thousands of former paramilitaries were killed after that demobilization as well — but during and after that they forged ties to Colombian politicians, expanding their roles in organized crime. In recent years, hundreds of public officials have been arrested for ties to criminal bands descended from paramilitaries.

Santos, the current president, has made assurances that right-wing groups and their criminal descendants will not have the same power they did after the FARC’s earlier attempt to enter political life.

Colombia paramilitary groups FARC rebels political violence

The lion’s share of our armed forces, soldiers and police, have been concentrated in the war against FARC … we’ve decided not to reduce our army or our police — on the contrary we’re strengthening it more, and all of these people will be concentrated in fighting these criminal bands, and they know that,” Santos said at a Reuters event in New York City this week.

“Only this year, we have captured or killed more than three-and-a-half-thousand members of these criminal bands; we have seized more cocaine than ever before, so we’re just starting to do that, so they know that the future is not very bright,” he added.

But the Colombian government has a poor track record when it comes to protecting demobilized combatants. And while the military is better trained, the rule of law has improved, ex-paramilitary leaders themselves have given their support to the peace process, and international support will be available for the demobilization, signs of potential blowback against demobilized FARC members remain.

FARC rebel leader Rodrigo Londono, better known by hs nom de guerre Timochenko, and leaders sing the anthem during the opening of ceremony congress at the camp where they prepare for ratifying a peace deal with the government, near El Diamante in Yari Plains, Colombia, September 17, 2016.  REUTERS /John Vizcaino

The fervent “No” campaign against the peace deal, led by former President Uribe — who has been linked to paramilitary groups — appears to have led to violence against peace-deal supporters.

In the three weeks after the Colombian government and FARC rebels announced their cease-fire, 13 activists promoting peace were killed, according to Colombia Reports. Dozens of others have gotten death threats and at least one man has fled his city for the safety of the capital.

What is concerning is that in the majority of cases they were killed presumably for reasons related to the promotion of ‘Yes,'” the Electoral Observation Mission, a civil-society group, said in a report about irregularities related to the vote.

Many of those killings took place near places where FARC rebels are to gather to demobilize. And while those areas are to have buffer zones as well as have a security presence, such killings raise the specter of more attacks on rebels who are once again out in the open.

SEE ALSO: Colombia’s peace deal has a cocaine problem

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The suspected Washington state mall shooter has been captured: state police

washington state mall suspect

(Reuters) – A suspect in the fatal shooting of five people at a Washington state mall was taken into custody on Saturday, Washington State Patrol spokesman Keith Leary said in a telephone interview.

The Washington State Patrol in a message on Twitter also confirmed a person had been taken into custody.

Officials said in messages on Twitter that authorities would hold a news conference to provide further details about the arrest.

Authorities first received reports of shots fired in Burlington’s Cascade Mall around 7 p.m. PT on Friday night. A gunman had opened fire in a Macy’s store, killing four women and a man.

The shooter then disappeared under the cover of darkness at the Cascade Mall on Friday, authorities said. The suspect remained at large for nearly a full day as authorities launched their search.

The suspect, whose name has not been released, is believed to have entered the mall in Burlington, around 65 miles (105 km) north of Seattle, and began shooting in the cosmetics section of a Macy’s department store, police said. 

He initially walked into the shopping center without the rifle but surveillance video later caught him brandishing the weapon, said Lieutenant Chris Cammock of the Mount Vernon Police Department at a briefing on Saturday.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles and Curtis Skinner in San Francisco; Editing by Michael Perry)

SEE ALSO: 5 people killed in mall shooting in Washington

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'I didn't quote facts': Charlotte police official walks back statement on protesters

charlotte protests

A representative for Charlotte, North Carolina’s Fraternal Order of Police said he “didn’t quote facts” Friday when he stated the majority of protesters arrested in this week’s demonstrations were from out of state, The Charlotte Observer reported

“If you go back and look at some of the arrests that were made [late Wednesday into Thursday], I can about say probably 70 percent of those had out-of-state IDs,” Todd Walther, the spokesman for the police organization, told CNN in an interview on Thursday. 

In the interview, he referred to protesters as “instigators that are coming in from the outside.”

An independent analysis from the Observer found that 79 percent of the protesters arrested were in fact Charlotte residents. The rest lived in other parts of North Carolina such as Albemarle, Gastonia and Greensboro.

On Friday, Wather admitted his comments were inaccurate and merely based on speculation. 

“I didn’t quote facts,” Walther, told the Observer on Friday. “It’s speculation. That’s all it was.”

During demonstrations on Wednesday in response to the fatal shooting of Keith Lamont Scott, protesters clashed with police and media covering the event. 

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory declared a state of emergency late Wednesday and deployed the National Guard to help rein in the unrest. 

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A protester in Charlotte gave out free hugs to police in riot gear — and they were incredibly grateful

Free_Hugs_Charlotte_North_Carolina_Riots_ _YouTube

Activist Ken Nwadike went to Charlotte, North Carolina, not to protest, but to hug.

He strode up to a line of law-enforcement officer who were suited up in riot gear, and gave one a hug.

The officers looked surprised at first, but then broke into smiles.

“Thank you for being out here and being peaceful,” the officer said as he embraced Nwadike.

Some of the other protesters yelled at Nwadike, calling him names and demanding to know why he was on “their side.”

“It’s about staying neutral, that’s what’s important,” he told them. “I see them as human beings, just like I see everybody on this side as human beings. We’re all human. His uniform doesn’t make him a robot. Just like your uniform, your skin color, doesn’t make you a criminal.”

Nwadike gave out hugs during a particularly violent night of protesting on Wednesday. The demonstrations were markedly more peaceful Thursday night, though the National Guard was deployed to the city and the mayor ordered a midnight curfew.

People were protesting after police shot Keith Lamont Scott dead on Tuesday, in an incident where police say he was armed, but his family insists he wasn’t. Scott’s death comes on the heels of another death in Tulsa, Oklahoma last week when a police officer there shot an unarmed black man, and was charged with felony manslaughter.

Nwadike, who started the Free Hugs Project after the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013, told Anderson Cooper Thursday night why he went to Charlotte.

“People are hurting, and I understand that. I think it was very tough for them to see a black man hugging police officers, which to me, doesn’t really make sense,” Nwadike said on CNN. “I don’t see it as us vs. the police. We’re all human beings. I was pointing out to them that those specific officers didn’t do anything to them, and it’s very important for us to spread love towards one another.”

Watch the full video of Nwadike’s passionate exchange with protesters and police below (contains some NSFW language):

SEE ALSO: A public defender walking the streets of Charlotte has the most inspirational message for the protesters — and they’re listening

DON’T MISS: These photos show the unrest in Charlotte following the fatal police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott

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