US policeman accused of threatening Anadolu Agency reporter suspended

US policeman accused of threatening Anadolu Agency reporter suspended

ANKARA - Anadolu Agency
US policeman accused of threatening Anadolu Agency reporter suspended

Bilgin Şaşmaz was detained while covering the police crackdown on protests after receiving threats from a police officer. AA Photo

The police officer accused of threatening Anadolu Agency’s Bilgin Şaşmaz while the latter was covering the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, was suspended on Aug. 20.

The agency reported on Aug. 20 that Şaşmaz was confronted by a police officer while photographing the clashes, with the police officer telling him, “If you direct your flash toward me once again, I will kill you.” Şaşmaz was detained by another police officer shortly after the incident as he continued covering the police crackdown on protests.

The spokesman for the St. Louis County Police Department, Brian Schellman, said the officer had been suspended for an indefinite period of time, without disclosing his identity. Schellman stressed that the attitude of the policeman had been “inappropriate.”

Meanwhile, U.S. State Department Deputy Spokeswoman Marie Harf rejected criticisms of “hypocrisy” over the crackdown in Ferguson and Washington’s vocal criticism of the police crackdown on last year’s Gezi protests in Turkey.

“This government has spoken very clearly about what’s happening in Ferguson. I would wholly disagree with your notion that there’s any hypocrisy,” Harf said Aug. 20.

“I would put our record here in the United States. When we have to course correct and fix things, we do so transparently and honestly and openly. I would call on other countries, including Turkey, to do the same thing. When they don’t, we will continue speaking out about it,” she added.

U.S. law-enforcement officers’ excessive use of force against demonstrators protesting against the killing of black 18-year-old Michael Brown by a white police officer has been condemned by several rights association, including Amnesty International.