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13.07.2012

Prosecutor checking attack by police officer on Odessa journalist

   

The Odessa Regional Prosecutor’s Office has responded  to “reports in some media publications on 9 July regarding an attack by a police officer on a journalist from an Odessa Internet publication”. It goes on to say that on 9 July the police received a report of a protest meeting taking place outside the Odessa Regional State Administration. According to media reports, the journalist was near a police officer from the Shevchenkivsky Police Station and began filming him.  The officer, according to this report, tried to cover the lens with his hand, but caught it, as a result of which the video camera fell to the ground.  At present the Prosecutor’s Office is investigating.

This does not appear to be how the journalist – Oleksandr Horodilov and his website, Odesa 048.ua describe the event. In their article The police celebrated the President’s birthday by attacking a journalist, providing photos and video footage.

They say that the uniformed police officer, together with two people not in uniform walked up to the protesters. The police officer categorically refused to identify himself, and his companions, the publication asserts, began demanding in boorish fashion that the videoing stop. They responded with ridicule when Horodilov said that he was a journalist, and as he was taking his journalist ID out, the police officer grabbed it from his hands and tried to photograph it on his mobile phone.  He refused to give it back and said he need to copy the information. At that moment, the report says, the officer grabbed the video recorder from the journalist’s hands and threw it violently down on the ground.  The report mentions that several people had told the officer that Horodilov was there as a journalist, having nothing to do with the protest.

One of the officers plain-clothed companions then set upon the journalist who was trying to get his documents back.  The assailant used physical force and foul language.

In the end, when Horodilov’s journalist colleagues called a police brigade, the officer Serhiyenko gave the document back and explained his behaviour as due to the heat. He claimed that “somebody pushed me and I didn’t even notice” that he’d thrown the video recorder on the ground.

The article states that some 20 witnesses – journalists and members of the protest confirm the deliberate nature of the officer’s actions, as well as those of his companions. 

The video can be seen here http://www.048.ua/article/166330

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