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Police officer assaults, threatens journalist in Chihuahua

(CEPET/IFEX) - Pablo Rodríguez Aguilar, a photojournalist with the paper "El Heraldo de Chihuahua", reported that he was physically attacked and received a death threat from municipal police officer Arturo Hernández Sánchez while he was covering a police operation in Chihuahua, Chihuahua, in northern Mexico.

According to Rodríguez Aguilar, on 20 May 2009 he was on his way to cover a story in Riberas de Sacramento where some alleged criminals were being detained.

Hernández Sánchez, who was trying to stop various media personnel from taking pictures of police officers involved in the operation, saw that Rodríguez Aguilar was taking pictures of the arrests, went over to him, hit the photographer on the head and told him that he was going to kill him.

After the incident, Rodríguez Aguilar filed a complaint with the Chihuahua municipal police.

The director of municipal public safety, Lázaro Gaytán Aguirre, released a statement in which he condemned the attack and said that the police officer must have lost his head to think that he could strike the journalist. According to Hernández Sánchez, however, the photographer had trespassed into the police's restricted area.

Gaytán Aguirre said that he will consider what punishment should be taken against the police officer.

Rodríguez Aguilar stated in an interview that personnel from the municipal police have been calling his mobile phone, putting pressure on him to retract his accusation against police. As a result, the journalist said that he plans to file an appeal with the Attorney General's Office (Procuraduría General de la República, PGR).

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