Sunday 19 May, 2019

Police did not raid Radio Jaagriti says Top Cop

SDMS head Sat Maharaj pictured with Inspector Stanley at Radio Jaagriti on Thursday.

SDMS head Sat Maharaj pictured with Inspector Stanley at Radio Jaagriti on Thursday.

Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith says contrary to reports, the Police Service did not conduct any ‘raid’ of media house Radio Jaagriti, nor was any “heavy handed approach” used in obtaining a copy of audio/visual material for investigations by the police.

In a statement, Griffith said officers of the Special Investigation Unit went peacefully and respectfully to the radio station with a search warrant on Thursday morning, to obtain a copy of a programme which has been making the rounds on social media and was cause for inquiry.

He said 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 Satnarayan Maharaj.

Griffith added that upon his arrival at the station, Maharaj was shown the search warrant and peacefully cooperated with officers.

He added that 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.

The Top Cop stated that Maharaj gave the officers a copy of the audio/visual recording and following a brief discussion, the police left without incident.

He noted that a photograph was even taken between the investigating officer and Maharaj, which shows at no time, any degree of aggression or hostility by either party.

The Commissioner also responded to comments made by the Vice President, Mr. Joel Julien, on behalf of the Media Association of Trinidad and Tobago.

“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 Vice President, Mr. Joel Julien, 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?” Commissioner Griffith questioned.

He further dismissed claims that the officers were harsh and oppressive.

“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. Police lawfully served the warrant and copy of the material was given to them by the CEO of the station without incident.”

The Top Cop added that if the CEO of the radio station feels the police abused their power, he should feel free to forward correspondence to the Office of the Commissioner or Police Complaints Authority (PCA), and it would be thoroughly investigated.

Griffith said the Police Service will continue its inquiries into this matter.

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