Tuesday 21 September 2021

Costa Rica Security Ministry “Tolerates Errors But Not Lies”; Minister

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If a civilian gives a false report to police, prosecutors take a dim view of it. In fact, should you or I do this, we would be in real trouble. But what if six policemen give a completely fabricated version of an incident?

gamboa-minister-msp
Security Minister Celso Gamboa (right) examines report in front of damaged police patrol vehicle.

We will find out. The Ministro de Seguridad Publica (MSP), Celso Gamboa, expressed anger Saturday when he had to retract the story of two men on a motorcycle wounding a policeman in the leg with a gun Friday near the condo where President Luis Guillermo Solis lives.

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During a special press conference later Gamboa announced the suspension of the six police officials, calling their story (in a careful understatement) “lamentable,” pending an investigation and possible filing of criminal charges.

“In the Security Ministry, we tolerate errors but not lies,” Gamboa said. The wounding part is apparently true, but details are sketchy. The wounded cop apparently was inside the patrol car when he was hurt but how just how is unclear.

But Gamboa said that “an exhaustive analysis by the Fuerza Publica and the Organismo de Investigación Judicial (OIJ), the original version has been discarded.” Instead, he said, the shot came from inside the patrol car “that suggests that it is definitely due to erroneous manipulation of a firearm by one of the officers inside the patrol car.”

False testimony in Costa Rica is punishable from one month to two years in prison. But such an act by a public official carries a two to eight year term.

In the story by La Nacion Friday, the Spanish language daily, reported that two as yet unidentified men on a black off-road motorcycle wounded a police officer early Friday morning while on routine patrol near President Luis Guillermo Solis’s condominium in Barrio Escalante district of San Jose.

Security Minister Celso Gamboa during a press conference Friday.
Security Minister Celso Gamboa during a press conference Friday.

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The official was accompanied by other officers. The policeman was hit in the left leg by the bullet and rushed to Calderon Guardia Hospital where he was in stable condition. The patrol was parked diagonal to the President’s residence at 1:10 a.m. when the incident occurred, according to Minister of Public Security Celso Gamboa.

On Friday, Minister Gamboa told the press that police are not discounting the possibility that the shooting could have been a payback for an officer wounded in the foot by a shot fired by a criminal during a raid in Goicoechea. “This is the second attack that an official has received in the past week. We feel that the attack was against police and not directed against the President. They never fired directly at the condominium where Solis lives,” he clarified. Police are still seeking the gunman.”

Article by iNews.co.cr, edited by QCostarica

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