CNN re­ports ‘Hol­ly­wood movie’: Po­lice

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Free­man Razemba Harare Bureau

PO­LICE have dis­missed as a “Hol­ly­wood movie” a CNN re­port that lo­cal of­fi­cers are or­dered to beat up, throw tear smoke can­is­ters and even­tu­ally shoot civil­ians dur­ing demon­stra­tions.

This comes af­ter CNN re­cently con­ducted an in­ter­view with a man mas­querad­ing as a ZRP of­fi­cer who raised al­le­ga­tions against the force, in­clud­ing po­lice bru­tal­ity.

In a state­ment yes­ter­day, chief po­lice spokesper­son Se­nior As­sis­tant Com­mis­sioner Char­ity Charamba said it was clear the whole in­ter­view was stage-man­aged.

“Whilst we agree that CNN, like any other me­dia in­sti­tu­tion, have jour­nal­is­tic priv­i­leges, th­ese should never be abused. We have watched with to­tal dis­be­lief an in­ter­view pur­ported to have been car­ried out with a mem­ber of the Zim­babwe Repub­lic Po­lice.

“By merely look­ing at the shad­owy fig­ure with a voice that had been mod­i­fied, it is clear that this fic­ti­tious char­ac­ter would fit in a Hol­ly­wood mod­i­fied style movie,” she said.

Snr Asst Comm Charamba said the “CNN cop” had no clue what­so­ever of how the force con­ducts crowd con­trol.

“It is very clear that the whole in­ter­view was man­u­fac­tured and con­cocted or to, sim­ply put it, was stage man­aged. This is clearly un­pro­fes­sional and ma­li­cious,” she said.

She said the ZRP is a pro­fes­sional force which uses in­ter­na­tion­ally ac­cepted stan­dards pre­scribed by the United Na­tions. “All mem­bers who are de­ployed on pub­lic or­der du­ties are thor­oughly briefed and the de­ploy­ments are guided by a dis­tinctly writ­ten op­er­a­tional or­der which at no cost does not state ZRP of­fi­cers should beat up peo­ple, throw tear smoke and even­tu­ally shoot demon­stra­tors as ma­li­ciously stated by this bo­gus of­fi­cer.

“The ZRP did not use firearms for crowd con­trol in the re­cent demon­stra­tions, con­trary to the bo­gus of­fi­cer’s as­ser­tion,” Snr Asst Comm Charamba said.

She said the force was man­dated un­der Sec­tion 219 (1) of the Con­sti­tu­tion, to de­tect, in­ves­ti­gate and pre­vent crime; pre­serv­ing the in­ter­nal se­cu­rity of Zim­babwe and pro­tect­ing and se­cur­ing the lives and prop­erty of the peo­ple.

It was also man­dated to main­tain law and or­der and up­hold the Con­sti­tu­tion and en­force the law with­out fear or favour along with other bod­ies as may be es­tab­lished by law for that pur­pose, she said.

“It be­lies un­der­stand­ing why peo­ple go to such un­pro­fes­sional lengths to plump the depth to come up with an en­tirely fic­ti­tious story. The re­portage by the CNN re­porters is one sided, to say the least, sug­gest­ing that they had only come to Zim­babwe on a mis­sion,” Snr Asst Comm Charamba said.

She said it was sur­pris­ing that CNN did not seek a re­sponse from the ZRP as per jour­nal­is­tic ethics.

“For the record, the pro­tec­tion of peace and sup­pres­sion of dis­or­der is the core man­date of ev­ery po­lice ser­vice the world over,” Snr Asst Comm Charamba said.

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