September 20, 2020

[Trinidad] Cops a disgrace

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nw3374By Susan Mohammed From Trinidad Express Newspapers

Caught on camera abusing disabled man in wheelchair

A video emerged on Facebook showing a policeman slapping a man in a wheelchair, and a policewoman pushing his wheelchair downhill along a busy street.

People have expressed outrage over the callousness of the actions of the police officers, and want action to be taken.

The Express has learnt acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams and National Security Minister Gary Griffith have been shown the video, and the case is being investigated.

Southern Division Senior Supt Cecil Santana has described the actions of the people in the video as a disgrace to the Police Service.

The video, which is less than two minutes long, has attracted the attention of thousands of viewers as by yesterday afternoon there were almost 28,000 views and it had been shared by 2,270 people.

One of the persons who commented on the video on Facebook was a person fitting the description of one of the police officers seen in the video.

That person commented: “The man cussing ppl and want to spit on the gentleman wen d man tell him bout it but that’s police brutality.”

Griffith said he knew of the video and the matter was being investigated.

He said, “I am aware that the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) is fully aware of the situation. Also, the Commissioner of Police and the matter is being investigated. So until the investigation is completed it will be inappropriate for me to make any statement at this time.”

A prominent attorney also commented on social media: “Look, I too do not know and do not care what the guy in the wheelchair did. This is outrageous!!!! Slapping a guy in a wheelchair!! Police officers do not have the right to abuse citizens…this is assault and battery.

“Whatever he may have done (it appears that he is being accused of cursing an officer) this treatment is against the law. The officer was not defending himself and not under any perceivable threat. Who is this officer?? He should be charged!!! We need to do something about the calibre of officers that we have. This must certainly be a big part of why crime continues to be out of control.”

Santana said yesterday the police officers are to be investigated immediately.

“The Commissioner (of Police) has instructed that the Professional Standards Bureau begins investigations into the matter immediately,” said Santana.

The Express was told by another senior officer that the officers in the video are attached to the Rapid Response Unit in Mon Repos, and that both appeared to be off duty.

“If he was on duty he would have to be in police uniform since he is not a detective,” the senior police officer said, adding that the woman police officer appeared to be working on an “extra duty”.

The Express was also told they are both Special Reserve Police officers.

Santana said: “I want to assure you that no stone will be left unturned and the appropriate action will be taken against those officers.”

Santana said he had seen the video. “It was a disgrace to the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service. Those are not the kind of officers that we want in the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service,” he said.

 

EMPLOYEE: Wheelchair man abused me

The video was shot on , San Fernando, around 4 p.m. last Saturday, and when the Express visited the area yesterday, several vendors and store employees said they had seen the man, and had witnessed the incident.

The wheelchair-bound man could not be located.

Most of those persons said the man should not have been beaten by the police officers.

A store employee who witnessed the incident said the man earlier that day left the San Fernando General Hospital and had a catheter and other apparatus hanging from the wheelchair.

“He was just showing the woman police officer monkey face and gave her the middle-finger. I think they treated him unjustly. The situation could have been handled better than that.”

, an employee of Chicken Unlimited, said she was taking out the garbage when the man became abusive to her.

“He asked me if we had any fish broth and when I told him no he started to use racial words and cuss. The man was carrying on and on,” said Allsop.

“But I would say the police had no right to hit him. But as officers, they should have known better to deal with him. Nobody deserves to be treated like that,” she said.

Allsop’s co-worker, Vonetta Mars, said: “He was pelting money at us. People would pick up the money and hand him, and he would pelt it at us. He was also pulling people’s hands and harassing some ladies. He was drunk. A man asked him his name and he cuss him too.”

A vendor who did not identify himself also said the man appeared to be under the influence of a drug. “He was using racial slurs, spitting and cussing people. I went to him and told him do not get on like that. When the police came he spit on the policewoman. He deserve more than that. He was lucky somebody didn’t kick him down from the wheelchair.”

 

THE VIDEO

The video begins with the policewoman telling the man: “Move your wheelchair and go from here for me, please.”

As she unhooks the brakes on sides of wheelchair, she says: “You don’t know who you are dealing with, you know.”

She then turns the wheelchair around and says to the man: “Go down the road. Push your wheelchair and go down the road. If you playing mad, I more mad.”

She then pushes him off into the street and the wheelchair rolled until it hit a vehicle parked at the roadside.

The person shooting the video walks towards the man and advises him to “drive back up” the street.

The man in the wheelchair turns it around and pushes himself a short distance before he is approached by a man who identifies himself as a police officer.

“It don’t take me nothing to buss some f** slap on you although you are in a wheelchair,” says the policeman.

“What you cussing the police for? I ask you a question, boy.”

The man in the wheelchair and the policeman exchange words before the policeman slaps him across his head and face.

The man, who said he was a police officer, continues to ask what he was cussing the police for, and slaps him again.

The wheelchair-bound man does not retaliate against the policeman, but rubs his hand over his head.

The video then has audio of a woman, who said: “He must be could probably well walk you know. But they does put themselves in wheelchair and come out here and terrorise people.”

The policeman then slaps the man in the wheelchair again and walks off.

For more on this story go to: http://www.trinidadexpress.com/news/COPS-A-DISGRACE-287069091.html

 

Related story UPDATE:

officers in court

pow8By Nikita Braxton-Benjamin From Trinidad Express Newspapers

TWO Special Reserve Police officers appeared in the San Fernando Magistrates’ Court on Monday charged with crimes related to the incident at High Street, San Fernando two Saturday’s involving wheelchair bound hospital patient Robbie Ramcharitar.

Suspended SRP Roger Rajkumar was charged with misbehavior in public office. He was represented by attorney Shawn Teekasingh,

when he appeared before Deputy Chief Magistrate Mark

Wellington.

Rajkumar, who was not asked to enter a plea, was ordered to continue on $20,000 bail. A State attorney will be assigned to prosecute in the case, which as adjourned to May 5.

Meanwhile, a warrant was almost taken out for suspended SRP

when her name was called numerous times in the San Fernando First Magistrates’ Court, and she did not appear.

Magistrate Wellington was in the process of obtaining a warrant when Phillip walked in.

She is charged with assaulting and beating Ramcharitar and with maliciously causing damage to a car. She pleaded not guilty to the offences, and agreed to have the matters heard together. The cases were adjourned to May 11, and will be heard by a magistrate in the Fourth Court. Phillip, who is out on $15,000 bail was warned by Wellington to be in the courtroom on that day.

IMAGE: CHARGED: SRPs Tynesha Phillip and Roger Rajkumar. PHOTOS: Dave Persad

For more on this story go to: http://www.trinidadexpress.com/news/SRPs-IN-COURT-287520021.html

 

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