The Office of Professional Responsibility in Berbice (OPR) is currently probing allegations of assault and theft committed by police ranks attached to the Number 51 Police Station on a mother and her 15-year-old son.
This was confirmed by the Deputy Commander Wayne DeHearte recently.
“We are presently taking statements in relation to an allegation against police ranks that they assaulted a mother and son”, he said.
The incident which stemmed from an alleged cell phone theft has left the mother with an abrasion to her back and her left knee. Her son told her that he was hit behind his head continuously by the ranks.
Thakurdi Jagnanan, called “Sherry” of lot 73 Number 52 Village, explained that two men dressed in plainclothes showed up at her house on Tuesday and demanded that she accompany them to the police station.
They did not identify themselves as police nor did they give a reason why she was asked to accompany them, the woman claimed. She however obliged and went along with the men to the police station with her son.
It was while there that she inquired of the reason they summoned her and her son to the station. She was then told by a male police rank that her son is accused of stealing a cell phone from the hire car they were in earlier that day.
According to her, at that point she inquired from her son if he picked up any phone and in the presence of the police he denied. She added that she told the police not to harass her son because he had just returned from the doctor at the Skeldon Hospital for a health issue with his head but one of the ranks yelled, “He full of drama, hand over the effin phone’’.
Shortly after, the woman said that they took her son to the back of the station in a room and she was told by two male ranks to “brace the wall, stand up with strength.”
“Me thought dem want check me to see if me got anything on me body and then me feel a lash across me back and me holler. Then he lash me again on the other side and me turn around and ask them what dem lashing me for and then he lash me on the knee and cuss me and tell me give them the phone and me keep telling them me na thief nobody phone.”
Jagnanan said she broke down in tears in front of the ranks and the Sargent who was upstairs ventured down to the station but walked past her without inquiring about the issue. A few minutes later they brought out her son. He was also in tears, she said.
The woman who was visibly in pain explained that the police kept both of them at the Number 51 Police Station on the bench for over an hour.
“Me crying and telling them to let me take my son to the hospital because he black out in me arms. He tell me before he black out that dem police lash he behind he head couple time and I tell dem he get a head issue since from beginning.”
The woman said that she was made to sign on two places on two separate documents and a fingerprint was taken from her son by the police while he was unconscious. She also revealed that while she was detained one of the ranks took her bag and checked it.
“He tek me bag and deh checking it and when he search he find some money I had inside and he tell me he gon give me back. And when me come out with this boy he give me back me money.”
Jagnanan said she had $103,000 in her bag that she took from home to go to the Anamayah Hospital to carry out a scan on her son head. She subsequently left for the hospital with her son without her money.
Jagnanan further added that because of what was done to her and her teen son she sought advice and was told to make a report with the Officer in Charge of the Number 2 sub-division (Albion-Springlands) but while she was told to wait outside under a shed in the Whim Station Compound by the officer’s secretary for hours, he did not meet with her.
In fact, a reporter who showed up to interview the woman, said that the officer saw him interviewing her and returned to his office and turned on the television to watch.
“I get tired of waiting and me daughter come and carry me to the hospital because I was in pain,”, Jagnanan stated. After being examined by a doctor at the hospital and given medications she decided to file a report at the OPR office located below the Central Police Station in New Amsterdam.
She made the report with the hope that the matter would be taken seriously and the policemen who allegedly committed the act could be penalized for their actions. However, based on the track record of the OPR investigations in Berbice, the woman and her son are still worried that the matter might be swept under the carpet.
Meanwhile, the OPR is also investigating another matter that was reported to them by Baldeo Budhan, 33, of Princeton, Corriverton. He alleged that some time last month while he was driving home at approximately 10:30 pm after dropping off some passengers that hired him when he heard the police siren blaring behind his vehicle.
“I pull in the corner and they came, and they asked me to step out of the vehicle and if I consumed any alcohol. And they told me to go around the other side. When I go around the other side, one of the police jump in at the back of my vehicle so I asked them what really they are doing.
“Then the same one at the back choke me and he curse me and told me to shut my mouth,” he explained.
The driver added that they subsequently took him to the Springlands Police Station and were attempting to carry out a breathalyzer test on him.
“They wanted me to blow on an old breathalyzer straw, but I know my rights and I told them I have to get a new one. So, the police sehe how they don’t have a new one and then he demonstrate on the machine but me tell dem me can’t blow on the machine.
“So then he tell me go and lock up the vehicle.”
He stated that the police cursed him, and he cursed back but that resulted in two of the policemen “attacking me.”
“One of them slap me and the other cuff me in my face and a next one took his small handgun and lash me in my head and I fall down.”
Budhan disclosed that the policemen kicked him several times in his stomach and ribs and shortly after placed him in a cell.
According to him, hours later a police officer took him out from the cell and took him to the hospital for a medical to be conducted. He was given tablets for pain and a document to visit the hospital to have an x-ray done.
“After we done deh he carry me back to the station and them release me.”
The very next day he ventured to the Skeldon Hospital to have his x-ray done but he was told by doctors that the machine is still non-functional. He was referred to the New Amsterdam Hospital and was told “dem only get small film”.
This led him to the Anamayah Memorial Hospital where he paid to have an x-ray done. He added that the x-ray showed that he suffered a broken rib. He also had a busted lip and pain behind his head from the hits.
Budhan is seeking justice for what allegedly took place and is also hoping that they will face the full brunt of the law for their actions.
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