The Police administration says it has commenced investigations into the assault of three Ghanaian Times journalists by some police officers in Accra.
It said the police service is looking into the motor traffic accident allegedly committed by the police officer as well.
ACP David Eklu, the Director of Public Affairs of the Ghana Police Service in an interview on Eyewitness News said that the matter has come to the attention of the police and they have been working on it since Thursday.
He said his outfit was notified about the incident around 9:00am on Thursday and he immediately moved in to have first-hand information about the matter.
ACP David Eklu told host of Eyewitness News, Umaru Sanda Amadu that the suspect at the centre of the incident has been identified and a statement has been taken from him as well as other police officers and non-officers who were at the scene at the time of the incident.
“We have been working on it since Thursday when it came up…There are two aspects of the case. It was a traffic incident that led to this scuffle so the traffic incident has also been reported at the MTTD at the Ministries Police station so that aspect is also being handled.”
“The Police officer has been identified and has given his statement. The other police officers who witnessed this thing have also given their statement. There were other non-police officers who have also given their statements. Because of the pain that the two journalists suffered, we have given them time to go and seek medical attention after that they will give their statements then we can continue with the investigations.”
When asked whether the police officer alleged to have assaulted the journalists has been interdicted awaiting a conclusion of the investigations, ACP Eklu said the officer was still at post and had not been arrested yet, noting that a decision on what must be done to the officer will be taken next week.
“The best step is to take statement from all those who are involved and since they are all known, and their places are known, it is prudent that the first step is to take their statements and if they [the journalists] need medical attention, that will be done… A decision has not been taken on that aspect [interdiction of the officer] yet…I believe by next week we should be able to get to the next step in respect of this investigation,” he said.
‘Assault on us was despicable’
Malik Suleman, one of the Ghanaian Times reporters assaulted by the police officers says he is considering pursuing the officer at the centre of the case in court.
“What happened yesterday was despicable and unthinkable,” he said on the Citi Breakfast Show.
Malik said the effects of the brutality were not limited to just his body.
“I am psychologically and emotionally traumatized. They were insulting me as if I have committed an egregious offence… even if I killed someone, the punishment they meted out to me was unlawful. They had no right under the law to do the kind of things they did to me yesterday.”
‘Assault on journalists becoming common in Ghana’
Assault on journalists in Ghana is becoming a common phenomenon with police officers being among the perpetrators.
In the last two years, there have been more than 15 of such reported cases. The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) has also said it has recorded about 62 of such incidents against journalists in the last four years.
“Despite the several reported incidents of violations against journalists, punishment of perpetrators has been very rare, if any at all. This culture of impunity for crimes against journalists only emboldens perpetrators and encourages others to abuse journalists at the least opportunity. Many reported crimes go investigated or end with the mere pronouncement by the police to the effect that investigations have commenced,” the MFWA has said in one of its reports.
Meanwhile the Ghana Journalist Association (GJA) has condemned the assault and called on the police to fish out the officer who perpetrated the act and punish him accordingly.
By: Jonas Nyabor | citinewsroom.com | Ghana
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