The son of an older woman with mental health challenges says he is disturbed by the contents of a video filmed last Thursday seemingly showing his mother being slapped by the police.
The nine-second video showing the incident in question was uploaded to social media last week by a Union Island school teacher, Abdon Whyte, along with a message berating the police for abusive behaviour.
After a short description of the video, Whyte notes, “There are some very good officers in the RSVGPF (Very Good!) and it’s officers like these that give the (police force) a bad name.”
The video was filmed from a stationary vehicle parked in the road, which faces the scene. It shows a pickup truck parked next to what appears to be three uniformed Rapid Response Unit (RRU) Officers, who form a loose semicircle around a woman.
This woman says something to one of the officers, and is promptly slapped in her face, causing a loud sound to reverberate. The woman in the video loses her balance, and falls. In falling, she seems to go in the direction of another officer, who does not help her, but seems to push her slightly. The other officer does not appear to do anything.
As she falls to the ground, the older woman seems to curse, saying “you mother c***”.
SEARCHLIGHT was able to contact Whyte, who explained that although he was not present, he has been informed that the woman said to be in the video, named, Janetta Mills, had a mental breakdown a few years ago and never fully recovered.
At times, when she is not on her medication, she behaves in an unruly manner and curses, but the normal situation is that she will only curse persons as they pass.
On the date in question, last Thursday night, January 21, Whyte understands that Mills was blocking the road, and the police officers came.
She is said to have held on to the vehicle or hit it, according to one version.
“…They (the police) came out of the vehicle and they were around her and then she started cursing them, and then that is when the officer gave her a slap to her face, hitting her to the ground,” he relayed.
She was apparently not arrested, and the police continued on their way.
What Whyte was told is that the older woman was giving the officer “talks”, but, he said, “either way the police had no right to hit the lady.”
He also heard that the police are claiming she spat on them.
Although the full name of the officer is not known to him, Whyte stated that the officer has worked in Union Island before, and should know about the mental state of the woman.
The “entire community” is said to be outraged, and there are discussions on whether they will go the criminal or civil route legally, but they want to see the officers in the video sanctioned in some way.
“…It’s worrisome in a community where the police officers are taking advantage of the weak and the defenceless,” Whyte contemplated.
“They are officers of the law, they are supposed to serve and protect. In no way, they are supposed to slap somebody to the ground like that,” he also commented at another point in the interview.
Whyte has reported the matter to the Public Relations and Complaints Department of the Royal St Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force. He has been informed that the Commissioner of Police (COP) Colin John is looking into the matter, and “taking it very seriously”, and there is an officer on the ground investigating it.
One of Janetta’s sons, Joul Mills, was meeting with Whyte when SEARCHLIGHT contacted him. They are in discussions about how to move forward.
Joul explained that he was shown the video by one of his close friends the morning following the alleged incident.
“Watching the video is very disturbing,” he said.
“I can’t do nothing about it in no physical way, so I tried my best to see what I could do still to see what could happen about the situation because trust me is real disturbing,” he said.
Seeing the video online makes him angry, but he says “I ain really wanna go through that right now. I wanna do the right thing nuh.”
Many people know his mother in Union Island, the young man notes, and know that although she curses, “she’s not the person who will get physical with you.”
He said he has never known his mother to spit on anyone.
“I go like something to be done about the situation not just for my mother but for every civilian on the island,” Joul concluded. He claims that the police come to the island, they don’t know about the community, and just “doing what they feel like”.
The Police Public Relations and Complaints department has informed that the matter is under investigation, and that they received a video about an incident from a resident of Union Island.
The Department said that they thank this person for sending it and responding as well.
In response to queries, they informed that when these investigations conclude, the file is forwarded to the “relevant authorities”.