RRU gets tougher in fight against crime
December 23, 2004
RRU gets tougher in fight against crime

Over the past few months, police officers especially those in the Rapid Response Unit (RRU) have become more aggressive in their attempts to curb crime.

Last week Tuesday, officers from one of the Rapid Response Units swooped down on a group of youngsters in the Paul’s Avenue area who were playing a dice game in the street. {{more}}

A number of searches were carried out with some persons ordered to pull down their pants in the street to be searched. A small portion of cocaine was found on the ground but no one was arrested, although a man was detained and later released after the officers took him for a ride around town and then let him go.

One of the officers was very adamant that the boys should go home. The same police officer was observed slapping one of the youngsters whom he had ordered to leave the scene.

A resident of Calliaqua who witnessed the incident commented that the same officer did the same thing a few weeks ago in Calliaqua after questioning why a youngster was, “liming so late”.

“As far as I know,” said the resident, “St. Vincent is not under any type of curfew, so persons can lime however late they wish.” A Troumaca resident claimed that he was knocked about the head by an officer fitting the same description a few weeks ago.

Persons in the community have often complained that a number of complaints made in relation to police brutality are not investigated and therefore go unpunished.

President of the Human Rights Association Nicole Sylvester said that the Association is currently putting together a list of police brutality reports for the year. She explained that a number of the reports are pending investigation and that there is one case where a person reportedly died. That one she says is still under investigation.

This publication has highlighted a number of cases where persons have alleged police brutality.

On Sunday, May 30, on a beach just outside the Canouan Sailing Club SEARCHLIGHT’s reporter Hawkins Nanton had his camera snatched from his hands by an immigration officer. Nanton was shooting photos of a fracas between a Rastafarian and police officers based at Canouan. The Rastafarian was in the process of receiving several blows across his body when the officer came from behind Nanton and grabbed the camera.

Two reports of police brutality came out of the Grenadine island of Canouan. In one incident, Wena Roberts said that she was beaten about her body by a police officer with a chair. She said that the lashes caused her to menstruate.

In yet another incident, 21-year-old Obadiah Patrick of Canouan reported that after J’ouvert celebrations on that island, he was taken to the police station where three police officers took turns beating him with a piece of rubber and a cutlass. Patrick told this paper that while one of the officers wielded the cutlass, he received a wound on his hand causing an injury that took five stitches. He was not charged for any crime.