The St Vincent and the Grenadines Human Rights Association says it is investigating reports of alleged brute force by police officers who shot a teenager in Edinboro then stomped his leg, causing it to break in three places.
President of the Association, Nicole Sylvester, told I-Witness News that she is considering forwarding affidavit evidence to the police in an attempt to assist their investigation into the alleged incident.
It is alleged that a police officer shot 17-year-old Asbert Rodney in the leg in an area called Middle Street at Edinboro some time last year.
Reports say that while Rodney was on the ground after being shot, a police officer went up to him and stomped him on his foot, causing it to break in three places.
It has, however, not been disclosed whether the officer who allegedly shot Rodney was the same one who allegedly stamped him.
Rodney is said to have undergone surgery as a result of the incident and had steel inserted into his leg.
Sylvester has written to Police Commissioner Michael Charles expressing concern and Charles ahs said the alleged incident is being investigated.
The rights activist is calling for the investigation to be fast tracked even as a police officer, Sedan Searles, was arrested and charged recently for allegedly shooting South Rivers resident Niclan King earlier this year.
The police officer allegedly shot King in the leg at a residence in Park Hill.
Sylvester told I-Witness News that affidavit evidence supplied by the Human Rights Association might have contributed to the charges being brought against that officer.
She detailed her association’s concerned about the alleged shooting incident in Edinboro.
“The concerns in relation to it is that is it a teenager, one. Two, from our own independent investigation, he was in the area of Edinboro, he was on a community service order but he had stopped going — which was to report to the police station, and he had difficulties when he would go, because there was nothing really organised for him.
“They (police) were in the area, saw him, shot him. From my own investigation, all the witnesses I spoke with said he wasn’t running or anything like that.
“In any event, they shot him, he was on the ground. Having shot him and he was on the ground, the officer then went over to him and stomped on his foot, causing the foot to be broken in three places,” Sylvester told I-Witness News.
Sylvester said the HRA learnt of the alleged incident one week later and she visited the teenager in hospital.
She said that while the police chief has said that the incident is being investigate, “Usually, that is what we are told: ‘It’s under investigation.’
“So I intend to follow it up by actually sending some statements to see if that can help, because in the last case where we got quicker reaction, I don’t know if the fact that I sent affidavit evidence [contributed]. So, maybe in the face of that, that may hasten the investigation,” she told I-Witness News.
“I would like that there be a transparent and thorough investigation, because anything that smacks or is likely to be as a consequence of police brutality, we cannot condone it, our society cannot condone it, and certainly, the Human Rights,” she said.
“So, it is always important to ensure that police brutality doesn’t not rear its ugly head again, because, as I indicated to the Commissioner, it seems as though we had gone through a period where it had abated, but it seems to be raising its head again and it’s something from the Human Rights we are going to be following up and speaking out and continuing, because our new approach isn’t just to speak out about it, but to actually use the limited resources we have to get independent statements and to assist the police in that regard, so that we get the statement as opposed to just saying, ‘Well it’s under investigation’,” Sylvester said.
“We realise that while there is a body, there isn’t a real separate, independent oversight body as such that we can say in the way that it is established in other jurisdictions. So I think we (HRA) have to be playing an active role,” she said.