Shomorn Haynes (left) , Kay Bacchus-Baptiste (center) holding a picture showing the damage done to one of the women, and Asheka Antoine (right)
News
June 4, 2021
Lawyer contemplating legal action in matter of alleged police beating

Kay Bacchus-Baptiste, the lawyer for two women who say that the police beat them last Friday, thinks that law enforcement has a case to answer and she has the medical records to prove that.   

However, Commissioner of Police (COP) Collin John told SEARCHLIGHT on Wednesday, that he has a different version of the story, and the matter is under investigation.  

The two women from Glen, Shomorn Haynes, 34, and her sister Asheka Antoine, 27, are claiming that last week Friday, two police officers beat them so badly, that Asheka had an asthma attack and it almost led to her asphyxiating.  

They say that a squad of 22 police officers came to their home looking for their brother in law Lejah Alexander who moved out of that house over five years ago.  

The women said that after the beating which took place at their home around 12.15 p.m., the police officers dropped them in the yard of the clinic at Calliaqua and left Shomorn to struggle with Asheka who was asphyxiating.  

The women told their story at the office of their lawyer on Tuesday where Bacchus-Baptiste said she wants to find out the names of all the policemen who were on the scene at the time of the alleged beating.  

“I am going to ask for full disclosure of all the policemen, including those that are nationals and non-nationals, including who was in charge of the pack.  

“I need to confirm that no search warrant was issued because that is what my clients told me,” Bacchus-Baptiste told reporters. 

The veteran lawyer said she is also going to write to Attorney General Jaundy Martin, since based on the medical records, if her clients are not compensated, she is going to sue the state.  

“This thing has to stop,” Bacchus-Baptiste said of police brutality, while noting that usually, persons who suffer at the hands of the police are impecunious, but the issue of the sisters is so serious in her eyes that she will be taking on this case pro-bono.  

“It’s the issue of the money to go all the way because these procedures are expensive. You have to give notice of intention to sue and it takes a long time, but I have had clients being compensated before and generally, I try to assist,” she said.  

“I do a lot of pro bono work. It still has to be some sort of payment involved, but I have gotten compensation for police brutality on more than one occasion but with this one I really intend to go all the way with it, because when you have policemen beating up on women, men lifting her up and throwing her down and slapping a woman, boxing a woman, this one I will have to do,” Bacchus-Baptiste stated.  

She said she is “really dismayed” at what is going on in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) as the sisters were the third set of persons who had come to her in three days claiming police brutality.  

The lawyer said there are detailed medical reports, “and we are not going to leave this like that.”  

On Wednesday, the commissioner said the women reported the incident and they were sent to the Public Relations and Complaints Department to make a report and were also advised, if they think it is necessary, to seek legal advice.  
COP John said the women were also advised that they can go to the Police Oversight Committee to lodge their complaint.

“We have different versions of what took place. They have different versions, the police have their version and the matter will be investigated and at the end of the day, we would discern what the position is,” the COP commented.  

The lawyer said there are detailed medical reports, “and we are not going to leave this like that.”  

On Wednesday, the commissioner said the women reported the incident and they were sent to the Public Relations and Complaints Department to make a report and were also advised, if they think it is necessary, to seek legal advice.  

COP John said the women were also advised that they can go to the Police Oversight Committee to lodge their complaint.

“We have different versions of what took place. They have different versions, the police have their version and the matter will be investigated and at the end of the day, we would discern what the position is,” the COP commented.