Allegations of police brutality have once again been made; this time it is against ranks at La Grange Police Station on the West Bank of Demerara. The ranks are being accused of wrongfully arresting 38- year-old Sunel Lall, throwing him into the lock-ups and brutally assaulting him.
To make matters worse, a badly battered Lall was released without charge, but only after his wife was forced to hand over $5000 to one of the ranks at the station.
The incident comes at a time when the Force is desperately trying to recapture the image that is in keeping with its motto of service and protection.
According to Lall, his ordeal began on Sunday night when he stopped at a roadside shop in his home village of La Parfait Harmonie to buy some souse. The man said he did not see the police following him, but as soon as he collected a cup of souse, someone slapped it from his hands and grabbed him from behind.
The father of five said that startled, he immediately looked around and saw that it was police ranks who were on patrol. Before he could begin protesting, one of the ranks told him to shut his mouth and proceeded to handcuff him. He said that he was then thrown into the back of a police pick-up without being told why he was being arrested.
“One ah dem put he foot pon me, he actually had he boots in me mouth. When I object, he stamp me in me back. I scream because de handcuff squeezing me hand and dey tell me fuh shut up,” Lall told this newspaper.
He was subsequently taken to La Grange Police Station where he was placed to sit on a bench.
According to Lall, the police still did not tell him why he was being detained. Instead, to his surprise, they gave him a document to sign.
“I ask dem wha I do and dey tell me shut me mouth. I didn’t cuss dem, I didn’t resist arrest. Dey didn’t even ask me meh name but dey give me a paper fuh sign,” Lall said.
He indicated that he did sign the piece of paper, although he did not know what was written on it, since he thought that that would have led to his release that very night. But that was not the case. The contractor was thrown into the lock-ups without being told of any offence that he might have committed.
As far as he was concerned, the only thing he was guilty of was riding a bicycle in the night to go to buy his souse.
Lall said that he began to protest vociferously in the lock-ups, and this certainly irritated the ranks who barged into his cell and continued beating him about his body.
“I never know is so police does beat you,” the man told Kaieteur News.
By this time his wife got word that he was arrested by the police and she made her way to the station to make enquiries and secure his release. But she got no satisfaction and had to return home without her husband, after being told to return the following morning.
The woman went back to the station early Monday morning, eager to have her husband released.
Again she enquired as to the reason for Lall’s detention and was bluntly told that he was arrested for loitering.
But before they could release Lall, the police had conditions. They wanted Lall, who also operates a brush cutter whenever he is out of construction work, to weed the station compound for free.
“I tell dem me ain’t weeding no yard, but me wife beg me, telling me dat dey gon release me if I agree fuh weed de yard. But I refuse and one ah dem tell me dat I giving de police a hard time,” Lall recalled.
He said that one of the ranks pulled his wife aside and told her that for her husband to go free she would have to give them $5000.
Lall stated that his wife gave the rank the cash but got no receipt. He was then told that he was free to go. He said when he asked the police for a medical certificate, they chased him out of the station.
An angry Lall came to Kaieteur News and related his ordeal. This newspaper contacted La Grange Police Station and a senior rank there promised to investigate the matter. He advised that Lall return to the station to give a statement. This was done, but Lall was told by the police that he will be contacted later. He is still to hear from the police and he was still not given a “Medical”, although he showed obvious signs of a beating about his body.
“Right now I can’t even wuk. I gat installment fuh pay and a family fuh mind,” he lamented.
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