A Police Constable stationed at the Georgetown Magistrates Court is currently under investigation by the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) over allegations of assault on a local journalist.
Journalist, Leroy Smith was assaulted by the Constable identified by his badge as Semple while at the Magistrates Court on Tuesday morning.’
In the presence of several media operatives Smith was physically handled, chucked, and verbally abused by the officer.
The Officer made a move to single out Smith from a group of civilians on the steps of the court. This is after the Police had requested that media operatives give way for the prisoners to be transported from the van to the holding bay at the Courts.
Smith in a statement issued on Tuesday afternoon stated that he felt “very disrespected lesser of a citizen of this country…they were aware that I am a reporter and they just wanted to prove a point to somebody.”
“I was shoved, chuck, and pulled into the prisoner’s holding area by the very constable Semple,” Smith said in his statement.
He noted that “immediately after he was “dragged into the prisoners detention area” another police stated “I will make you an example and pass you through the fP*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.”
His comments were made in full hearing of the police Inspector and constable Semple along with prisoners who were in the area at the time.
Shortly after being detained, Smith was released. The drama did not end there as other media operatives were later ordered out of the compound.
After the order was met with defiance, another squad of officers arrived at the Magistrates Court as reinforcements to the existing officers but made no move to remove the media operatives.
When contacted Divisional Commander Clifton Hicken said that he is aware of the complaint made by Smith and an investigation has been launched. He said that the investigation is being conducted by OPR noting “they are dealing with the matter.”
The Guyana Press Association is also “looking into the issue.”