GPA condemns attack on journalist by Leopold Street residents during protest

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Wendell Jeffrey

Journalist of Safetv2 Headlines News, Channel 2, Wendell Jeffrey was, on Wednesday, attacked and beaten by a group of protesters in Leopold Street, Georgetown, who were at the time protesting the killing of a resident.

Thirty-five-year old, Odinga Williams of Leopold Street was shot and killed by Police in the wee hours of Wednesday at Norton Street, Wortmanville as he was a suspected criminal.

As such, relatives of the father of one, along with other residents of the area launched a massive protest, burning tyres and other objects, calling for justice for Williams, whom they believed was wrongfully killed.

At the time of the protest however, the residents had indicated that they did not wish to engage the Police in any discussions.

Jeffrey a journalist of over 10 years, reported to the scene of the protest to provide coverage of the incident.

The journalist, who was wearing his media pass which states in part “Police Media Pass”, attempted to speak to a number of the protesters who mistook him for a Police Officer. As such, he was reportedly attacked by a gang of men and badly beaten.

INews spoke with Jeffrey on Thursday at the Davis Memorial Hospital, Georgetown, where he was receiving medical treatment.  The Journalist detailed the attack which, according to him, left him shaken.

He recalled that he was beaten to his head with a bottle, cuffed to his face, spat upon, his cellphone was thrown to the ground and damaged and he also reported that the gang attempted to rob him of his camera. “Somebody cuff me, broke my tooth, I have to get it extracted. The dentist said that it’s too damaged to be fixed” the Journalist disclosed.

Jeffrey revealed that he was saved by a relative of the now dead man who stopped the beating.

The Journalist who is also a Pastor said that he is grateful that he is alive since the incident could have been much worse.

The Guyana Press Association (GPA) has since condemned the attack and is calling for a thorough investigation to be carried out into the matter.

According to the Association’s head, Nazima Raghubir she “personally feels that if the account that the police were present while this incident took place is true, we need to ensure the police address this”.

The GPA President used the opportunity to caution all media practitioners to be cognizant of their surroundings when covering situations highly fueled by emotions.