COMMISSIONER of Police Gary Griffith says, contrary to "misleading reports", police did not carry out any "raid" of media house Radio Jaagriti, nor was any “heavy-handed approach” used in obtaining a copy of audio/visual material for investigations.
A police release yesterday said officers of the Special Investigation Unit "went peacefully and respectfully to the radio station with a search warrant on Thursday morning, to get a copy of a programme which has been shared on social media and was cause for inquiry.
"Officers first showed the warrant to the station manager and respectfully waited in the reception area at the radio station for the arrival of its CEO Mr Satnarayan Maharaj (his title is managing director). Upon his arrival at the station, Mr Maharaj was shown the search warrant and peacefully cooperated with officers. Two of his attorneys arrived a short while later and, while speaking to him in his office, police allowed his lawyers to read the document as well. Mr Maharaj gave the officers a copy of the audio/visual recording, following a brief discussion, the police left without incident."
The release said a photograph was even taken with the investigating officer and Maharaj, "which shows at no time, any degree of aggression or hostility by either party."
The release said Griffith takes note of the comments made by (acting president) of the Media Association of TT (MATT), Joel Julien, on the matter.
"In contrast to what is stated by Mr Julien on behalf of the association, the police officers did in fact read and serve the search warrant upon their arrival at the radio station. It is therefore inaccurate and misleading for MATT, through its (acting president), to state that the police conducted a raid, without a search warrant at Radio Jaagriti. Did Mr Julien seek clarification of the facts from his colleagues before falsely accusing police officers of unprofessional conduct and intimidation?"
The release said there were two police officers in uniform, while others were in plain clothes with no firearm visible.
"Yet Mr Julien and others on social media are accusing officers of being harsh and oppressive. There was no forced entry of the premises, no physical confrontation between officers and staff, nor did police search any desk draws or vehicles.”
The release continued: "During the Easter weekend, at a time when police officers are out in full force to ensure that law abiding citizens can be safe, (acting president) of the association, Mr Julien is seeking instead to falsely accuse the police of unprofessional conduct in the execution of their duties, when this is not the case. Mr Julien should be advised to spend more time in ascertaining why three daily newspapers headlined a story, by falsely stating that the police 'raided’ the premises, to cause uncalled for sensationalism, when what actually took place was in total contrast to those misleading headliners (sic)."