Guyana Chronicle:– A POLICE constable stationed at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court is currently under investigation for assaulting Newsroom reporter, Leroy Smith.
The incident, which occurred on Tuesday in the court’s compound, is being investigated by the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR).
The Constable identified as Joel Semple had singled out Smith from a group of civilians, who was standing on the stairway.
Semple harassed, arrested and detained Smith upon instructions of Inspector Chaitram, both of whom are stationed at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court.
The Senior Crime and Security reporter was reportedly shoved, chuck, and pulled into the prisoner’s holding area by Constable Semple.
Smith, in a statement Tuesday afternoon, said that after he was placed into the prisoner’s detention area, another police verbally abused him. “I will make you an example and pass you through the f**king court this morning if you don’t comply because y’all reporters does believe that y’all get more f**king power than police,” Smith said he was told by the officer.
His comments were allegedly made in full hearing of the police Inspector, Constable Semple and prisoners.
“The same police rank chucked me into a corner in the holding area, causing my microphone to fall to the ground; then he instructed another police to pick it up and hand it to me. I refused to collect the microphone and instead that my microphone be placed on a table, which was in the detention area at the time,” Smith said.
Shortly after, Divisional Commander Clifton Hicken arrived to deal with the issue and asserted that an investigation has been launched into the matter.
The incident has also gained the attention of the Guyana Press Association.
The allegation stemmed from instructions the police were giving to media operatives and members of the public that they needed to remove from the access areas, to the holding cell at the court so as not to be in contact with the prisoners who were arriving at the court.
However, Smith was standing on the stairway, along with several other civilians, when the police Inspector sought to instruct the Constable to go among the crowd of civilians and arrest him.
It must be noted that Smith was detained without being told why he was being held.