Seven sent on vacation after televised scuffle

Seven police officers who struggled with television reporters and camera operators are on leave while the legal department of the security ministry studies their case, the ministry said Monday.

The seven are members of the Grupo de Apoyo Operacional, which is similar to a tactical squad.

The confrontation happened Thursday when police sought to enter a dwelling and make an arrest. Crews from Channel 7 Teletica and Repretel were present, as is usually the case on police raids. Sometimes the camera crews are invited and other times they learn of the event by monitoring the police frequencies.

The policemen face various allegations, including using excessive force. One newsman suffered a bloody nose. One police officer carried a non-regulation collapsible baton that he used as a blackjack.

Cameramen captured much of the confrontation on tape. The stations aired the event as a news story.

The confrontation happened in La Table de San Juan de Desamparados.

The seven officers were placed on vacation for periods up to 15 days, the ministry said.

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