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Municipal and state police assault journalists in Chihuahua

(CEPET/IFEX) - In separate incidents, two journalists who work for online media outlets in Chihuahua, Chihuahua (northern Mexico), were threatened and physically attacked on 14 April 2010, by municipal and state (Cuerpo de Inteligencia Policial, Cipol) police officers.

In the first incident, a journalist who works for "Tiempo" (whose name has been withheld for security reasons) was assaulted by a municipal police officer while reporting on the detention of two youth after a concert in the El Palomar park, in the capital of Chihuahua.

According to "Tiempo" editor Bernardo Fierro, the incident occurred around 10 p.m. after a concert by singer Julieta Venegas. The journalist witnessed police trying to remove a group of youths who were fire juggling from the area.

Some of the people who were standing by questioned the police's actions. Nevertheless, the officers handcuffed two of the young people, explaining that setting things on fire in a public place is prohibited. The journalist approached the police to take photographs of the arrest, when one of the officers, Adwilson Cruz, blocked her way by pushing and threatening her.

"I don't care if you're with the press," he said, when she tried to identify herself as a member of the media. The journalist threatened to file a complaint about him and he threw her camera in her face when she tried to take another photograph.

Fierro said that after the incident he went to the scene, where a senior police officer apologized to the journalist. A complaint was filed with the Internal Affairs Department of the police who will determine a possible sanction against the officer.

In a separate case, on the morning of 14 April, a Cipol officer assaulted Valentín Hierro, an "Entre Líneas" online newspaper photojournalist, who was covering an attack against an officer from the same force.

Hierro went to the Central Hospital, where he tried to take photographs of an officer who had been injured. Another Cipol officer pushed and punched him to stop him from taking photos. Other officers had to intervene to stop the attack.

Independent sources have verified that the officer was suspended for three days because of his behavior.

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