UARU
Hromadske Journalist Assaulted by Police Near Cabinet of Ministers Building
29 April, 2020

Update: The National Police of Ukraine has released a statement regarding the assault: "We have received information from a hromadske journalist about employees of TOR interfering with his professional activities...In order to clarify the details of the incident, a investigative group from the Pechersk police department has been dispatched. They will conduct a check and then transfer their findings to the State Bureau of Investigations for a procedural decision."

hromadske journalist Bohdan Kutiepov, on April 29 while streaming live from the Cabinet of Ministers building in central Kyiv, was assaulted by law enforcement officers who broke his equipment – due to him “standing on the green zone”, a patch of grass on a raised park near the building.

Kutiepov, and cohost Nikita Mekenzin, were streaming a protest near the Cabinet of Ministers building, demonstrating against quarantine restrictions. They were then accosted by a group of law enforcement officers from the TOR subdivision (created in 2017 for the purposes of maintaining public order – ed.) who demanded they step off the grass. The hromadske journalist attempted to explain that he had a professional need to stand there, as that patch gave the best view of the protest being elevated and directly behind the protest itself.

While trying to ascertain the police officers motives for telling them to move, the TOR officers replied that the journalists “either remove [their camera] or I’ll break [it].” And then they forcibly ejected the journalists from that space.

One of the law enforcement officers can be seen on camera being concerned about the fact that Kutiepov had continued to stream the encounter, and threatened to break the camera once more, but only broke the camera’s stabilizer.

Kutiepov reports that he had ended the stream and called more law enforcement agents to the scene in order to write a formal criminal complaint. Kutiepov says that he would like to see funds returned for his broken equipment and an apology for the use of force against him and his fellow journalist. 

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