POLICE have strongly denied that any of its officers were involved in the “police brutality” story published on Island Sun newspaper, Monday.
The police force also called on the victim in this alleged incident including the Island Sun newspaper, its editor, and journalist to apologise to all police officers for the wrongful accusation.
Editor of Island Sun Newspaper Priestley Habru yesterday said the paper duly noted the response by the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) regarding their front-page story on 15 June 2020.
“We will make a formal response to the members of the Central Response Unit (CRU) and all ranks and files of the RSIPF in due course,” he said.
The victim in this alleged police brutality, who is currently admitted at the National Referral Hospital, claimed that police came in a land cruiser and attacked him at Bahai area, Honiara.
According to the Island Sun paper, the victim and his friends had a night out at Pacific Casino Hotel.
They were about to leave at 2am when a misunderstanding arose between them and the hotel security.
The paper stated that after settling the matter they left in search of beer at one of the black markets at Bahai.
It was then that a CRU land cruiser allegedly pulled up and two men who the victim claimed as police officers approached him.
The victim said he was by those men if he was the one wanting to act smart in front of the Pacific Casino gate and argue with the security.
The paper further stated the men who came in the land cruiser then attacked the victim, pushed him into the vehicle.
The men also claimed the men in the vehicle attacked him inside the vehicle and then stopped at Multipurpose Hall where they pushed him out.
The victim escaped to some friends’ place where they assisted him back to his home.
Police in response, however, said after investigations were done by CRU officer-in-charge it has been established that those responsible for the incident were members of a local security company and not the CRU or any other police officers.
“Following investigations by Officer-in-Charge of the CRU, Inspector Tex Tafoa after the story appeared in the newspaper today it has been established that those responsible for the incident were members of a local security company and not the CRU or any other police officer.
“In fact, an off duty police probationer was at the scene of the incident trying to assist the victim,” Acting Police Commissioner Mostyn Mangau said in the statement.
Mangau added that they welcome the personal apology by the victim and a member of his family to the CRU at the Honiara City Central Police Station yesterday afternoon but already the story has gone viral on Facebook.
“RSIPF are therefore requesting a public apology by the victim as well as the Island Sun newspaper for failing to make any attempts to verify the story but instead rushed into publishing a story that has now tarnished the good reputation of the CRU and the RSIPF for that matter.
“I request a front page apology from the publisher, the editor, and the writer of the story to members of the CRU and all ranks and files of the RSIPF for a story which was never checked and now ruined the integrity of the full Force.
“I call on the Island Sun newspaper as well as other media in the Solomon Islands to be responsible in their reporting of such sensitive issues especially checking the facts of stories before publication,” Mangau added.
“I would like to commend the work of members of the CRU and other police officers throughout the country for continuing to sacrifice their precious time and effort to deter anti-social behaviour in Honiara and the rest of the country to ensure our citizens are safe and secure.
“RSIPF encourages the victim to press charges against the security company involved in the incident during the weekend,” he further added.
By ASSUMPTA BUCHANAN