Mar 24, 2015 News
She had just finished enjoying a movie at the Princess hotel and was heading home in high spirits when a party of unidentified police ranks messed up the rest of her evening.
And to this day she is still traumatized by the experience of having been pulled over in the middle of the night at Agricola of all places and with guns pointed at her and her friend, she was ordered out of her car for a “routine search”.
The woman who did not want her name published came forward with details of her ordeal after reading reports in this newspaper about police illegal operations, especially roadblocks.
She said she was surprised to read what the Commissioner of Police was saying with regard to roadblocks and stop and search, especially since her ordeal with some ranks was the complete opposite.
According to the woman she is willing to make an official report of the matter so that a thorough investigation can be done.
Commissioner of Police Seelall Persaud had advised that persons should not stop at roadblocks set up in dark areas and away from police stations.
His advice comes in the wake of a return of robberies committed by persons dressed as police ranks who set up illegal roadblocks to catch unsuspecting victims.
The woman recalled heading home towards the city along the East Bank Demerara Public Road last week Tuesday night when some heavily armed men in a dark-coloured double-cab pick-up signaled her to pull over.
It was close to midnight and the two women in the car were obviously terrified since they saw that the men were heavily armed.
The woman said she pulled on to the shoulder of the road and stopped, trembling as the men approached her car.
The men demanded the “documents” for her vehicle and she gave it to them, although she found it strange since she recalled the Commissioner of Police advising the public that ranks on anti-crime patrol duties are not supposed to request vehicle documents, willy-nilly.
After satisfying themselves with the documents, the ranks then ordered the two women out of the car claiming that they wanted to conduct a search. The woman recalled that by this time it was midnight and they were in the middle of the village of Agricola.
“They saw it was only the two of us (women) in the car but they still proceeded to harass us,” the woman stated.
What was worrying was the fact that except for their guns and the police emblem on the pick-up, the ranks had no visible form of identification.
Of course the woman and her friend began questioning the officers but since they had nothing to hide, they gave in to the request and their vehicle was thoroughly searched.
“They asked me to open the trunk and I had to get out and open it. They did not have to search much there because I didn’t have anything illegal,” the woman told Kaieteur News.
It was only when the men demanded that they search the women’s handbags that the women made strong objections.
“When they said they had to search us personally, my friend objected and told them that they cannot do that without a female present,” the woman recalled.
But even that did not deter the police from making life miserable for the two women.
They ordered the women to drive to the nearby Agricola Police Outpost where a female was called out to conduct the search.
“Imagine the female ranks sucked her teeth and questioned why they had called her out,” the woman stated.
When all of this was finished, the ranks in the vehicle thanked the now frustrated women for their cooperation and left, without apologizing.
“I think they felt stupid after. Why did they interrogate us? I got stopped at a police roadblock but that is expected,” the woman said.
“I don’t know what would have happened if I was alone that night. It was scary because what would happen to other people who can’t take the harassment and would give in. I don’t pay the police, even if they have to give me a ticket,” the woman said, making it clear though that the police however did not ask her for a cent.
The woman argued that the police had no real suspicion to carry out such a search on her vehicle much less her person.
The police have been struggling to restore shattered public trust and it is incidents like this that would make their task difficult.
AUBREY NORTON FRIGHTEN RENEGOTIATION AND RING-FENCING
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