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28.09.2006 Crime & Punishment

Police beat up Journalist

By ADM
Police beat up Journalist
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…For asking “please can I get the facts sheet?”
There is not a day passing by without 'bad' news about our Police Officers. Last Tuesday, some officers at the Kaneshie Police Station exhibited an unacceptable action against a Happy FM reporter; Lawrence Addo Cheremeh, turning his face into a punching bag, without any provocation from his side.

Mr. Cheremeh was admitted to the Kaneshie Polyclinic, treated and discharged the same day after that unfortunate encounter with the police.

He has since made a formal report to the Accra West Divisional Command, Kaneshie.

When ADM called the Kaneshie Police Station, we were directed to about four Officers, but each did not want to comment.

Speaking to the ADM, Lawrence Cheremeh narrated that after the close of work around 9pm on Tuesday, he passed around the Kaneshie Police Station where he normally picks a vehicle to his house.

“At the park, I saw police officers numbering about six wielding riffles running towards the Kaneshie market. I paused for a few minutes to witness what will unfold. After a few minutes I heard continuous warning shots obviously from the gun of the police officers. Later large crowd followed the police officers with a battered man in their grip.

Upon enquiries from the crowd, I got to know that the man in the grip of the police had stolen some oranges from the Kaneshie market and after being confronted by the Market security personnel, a scuffle ensued between them which resulted in the security officer losing part of his lower lip.”

Mr. Cheremeh noted that he decided to follow up to the Charge office of the Kaneshie police station.

“After some few minutes a police officer emerged from the charge office and told the people standing on the veranda to move away. I then distanced myself from the people and removed my press card and showed it to the officer that I am a reporter from Happy FM and that I would like to get the facts of the case to file a report. What the officer told me was “you are a journalist and so what? “My friend get down”. He then shoved me off the veranda, which I nearly fell off the staircase”, Mr. Cheremeh said.

He said he asked the officer “why this behaviour”, and the Officer replied with three slaps.

“One of his colleagues who were also standing by then asked him why and he replied that this stupid boy who calls himself a journalist said he doesn't fear a police man. The second police man also replied with two slaps. The two of them jostled me with one holding my shirt and neck and the other holding my trouser to the charge office”

He said at the charge office he was put behind the counter. “The counter officer asked them of my mission, the two officers then told him I said I don't fear a police officer. The counter officer also upon hearing the statement from his colleagues also banged my head against a wall for about three times and not to talk of numerous insults heaped on me and the journalism profession by the officers who were at the station at that hour”, he said.

According to Mr. Cheremeh he was detained for an hour and was released without any charges being preferred against him.

“After my release I realized that my mobile phone, digital voice record, two prepaid cards kept at the breast pocket of my shirt and an amount of two hundred thousand cedis kept at the back pocket of my trouser were missing. I then reported to the Kaneshie polyclinic where I was treated and discharged”, he said.

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