Apology: iWitness News regrets the association of “Nigel John” with certain statements contained in an earlier version of this article. Sergeant Nigel John is a distinguished member of the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force and we apologise for any injury to his reputation caused by the publication.
See edited article below:
Police allegedly beat two sisters at their Glen home, on Friday, causing the younger one to have an asthma attack that she said could have left her with brain damage or dead.
Asheka Antoine, 27, told the media on Tuesday that officers showed very little concern for her, even as she almost died.
Speaking to the media in the chambers of her lawyer, Kay Bacchus-Baptiste, in Kingstown, Antoine said an officer turned over her bedside table when she asked him to pass her the asthma pump she keeps on it because of breathing problems at night.
She said her asthma attack began after an officer choked her and beat her in the head when they came to the house, claiming they were looking for guns and ammunition.
Antoine’s sister, Shomorn Haynes, 32, who also lives at the house, said that police also beat her in the presence of her children.
“The senator, they said they were protecting her because she is a woman. What are we? Are we men?” Haynes said.
She was speaking about the April 13 case in which Senator Ashelle Morgan and Assistant Director of Public Prosecution Karim Nelson have been implicated in the shooting of Diamond resident Cornelius John at his home.
No arrest has been made in the case although John, a 60-year-old businessman, has identified one of his alleged attackers.
“We is dogs. We nah men; we ah dog,” Antoine said, sarcastically, in response to her sister’s comment.
At the press conference, Bacchus-Baptiste read what she could discern from the medical reports that Dr. Michael Goodluck, the district medical officer, produced when he attended to the sisters around 1 p.m. on Friday.
The report said that Antoine had several hematomas; multiple contusions; abrasions to the cheek, neck, anterior chest wall; the entire back, upper limbs, the thighs had painful swellings; contusions to the general scalp, which triggered a seizure and bronchial asthmatic severe episode, and a bruised pelvis.
Haynes’ report spoke of “ severely painful” and “very tearful”.
The doctor said that Haynes had severely painful stress contusions with significant swellings to the left cheek with oral inner mucus, contusions, several painful ruptured membranes, and her ear was severely painful and bruised.
In explaining what occurred, Haynes told the media that shortly after noon, on Friday, she was at home when she heard the dog barking.
When she looked outside, she saw about 22 police officers armed with rifles and handguns and all but three of them “covered from head to toe”, wearing what her description suggests were balaclavas.
Haynes told the media that the officers were on her mother’s property — which contains two houses — and a neighbour’s yard.
She said she asked multiple times what was going on before an officer told her,” Alyo go know just now.”
Haynes said Antoine then came out onto the porch, sat down and asked what was happening, but none of the officers replied.
She said Antoine told the officer she was going to call her mother to tell them that the police were there, “in case they had a search warrant”.
The officer told Antoine that could not use her phone and tried to take it from her.
Antoine maintained that she had a right to use the device and the officer again tried to take the phone and she put it under her bottom.
“The officer then come on the porch and lift her and slam her on the ground and take the phone from her,” Haynes said.
She added that her sister was about to go down the steps when the officer “grabbed her by she throat and start slapping her and boxing her in her face…
“So I ran over to her rescue and hugged her and told her to relax because after getting all this beating, she was obviously acting out and the police were armed with guns so I was scared that someone would hurt her, shoot her the way how they approached us,” Haynes said.
She said she tried to calm Antoine and put her to sit on a bench.
“Another police officer approached her from inside the house, he did not see this incident happen, and start choking her again and punching her in her face and turn to her and said, ‘You hit my officer? You hit my officer? You hit my officer? We fed up ah yo! We fed up ah yo! Every time we come here yo’ always have something to say’ and continued punching her.
“So I am telling her, ‘Officer, she did not do anything! She did not do anything!’ with my hands like this,” Haynes said, with her palms outstretched in front of her.
“And he was like, ‘You get your hand out of my face! You get your hand out of my face’,” Haynes further stated, adding that she was surprised by the officer’s response as her hands were not in his face.
Haynes said that she turned to say something to her 15-year-old daughter, who along with her 13- and 8-year-old witnessed everything.
“And I received a slap from the officer. So I turned around and said, ‘What? Officer, what did I do?’ and I received a next slap again from the same officer in front of my kid. My daughter was scared so she run to meet me and the officer put a gun at her and said, ‘Ay, you, stay right there!’
“With all of this, even when the officer came out and was beating her (Antoine), the other officer who was hitting her before have a broomstick and was beating her in her head while the next officer choking her, boxing her in front her face in front of the kids.
“After they finished doing all this and they pleased themselves beating us, they ordered her (Antoine) to the bedroom,” Haynes said.
She said that Antoine is asthmatic and epileptic.
Of herself, Haynes said:
“I have a condition where my heart race, I have anxiety attacks. I have other complications so I was there trying to catch myself. While trying to catch myself, not only from the shock but from the slap because my ear was paining, it was ringing, it was just out of the world at that point and I hear Asheka asking for her pump.”
Antoine told the media that the police “didn’t care” amidst her distress during the asthma episode.
“They showed no remorse at all even in the end, we were trying to explain to them that the person they were looking for was not living there,” she said.
Describing her asthma attack, Antoine said:
“My chest was feeling extra tight and the walls felt like they were closing in on me…
“He took the table and he just flip it over. He didn’t hand the pump for me. He didn’t care…
“I dropped on the ground, I felt like I was going to die. My heart was beating so fast and I couldn’t breathe at all, at all, at all. He didn’t care.”
Antoine said that the police later took her and her sister to the Calliaqua Clinic.
“When we got to the clinic, the nurse was saying if they brought me in any later, I could have gotten brain damage, or, even worse, I could have died because I was wheezing so bad on both sides of my chest.”
She said that the officer just left them outside the clinic and left.
“… my sister had to struggle with me go inside”.
Haynes said one of the officers had threatened to arrest her sister claiming that she had hit a police officer.
“I was on the ground basically dying and the officer was sending another officer to get handcuffs to put on me,” Antoine said.
The sister said that the police did not show them a warrant.
“Up to now we haven’t seen a warrant and nobody has given us an explanation of what is going down,” Haynes said.
She said that when she was in the house she asked the officer why he had slapped her in front of her children.
“He turned to me and said, ‘When alyo brother ah kill and shoot people, why alyo don’t ask why.’
They said that the police later told them that they were looking for guns and ammunition and one Leejah.
“And the guy is not our brother. He was with one of our sisters. And they were together. And the same sister is not living there for years. He moved out. It’s almost five, six years he is not living by us and they will still come and harass us,” Antoine said of Leejah.
The police officer searched the house and the officer who slapped them told the team, “Don’t be afraid to trash the place,” Antoine said.
She said that the police later said that they were not going to arrest anyone, not even for a small marijuana tree that was in the yard, which the women said had sprung up there and remained there as the yard was yet to be cut.
They said that when they asked the officer who has struck them his name, he said it was “Delroy Hamilton”, but they later found out that that was not his name.
The women said that while they do not know the name of the other officer, they can recognise him as he is usually stationed at the mobile police station in Glen.
On Wednesday, Commissioner of Police, Colin John told iWitness News that the women had come to see him and he had referred them to the Police Public Relations and Complaint department.
He said he was not sure if the women had lodged a complaint, but that an investigation was being conducted.
He said he could not say when the investigation might be completed.
John told iWitness News that the officers had gone to the house to execute a search warrant in relation to illegal firearms.
If what I just read is the whole truth its very disgusting and sickening to say the least. Is that how we become as a nation of laws? I am one who use to always defend and respect the police but how can 20 other officers stand by and witness the abuse of females especially infront of their kids. Colin John please have a concience and start making examples of these rouge officers before the public decide that enough is enough. Its only in SVG those things can happen.
This is craziness.
Your police system is to lack of the rights of the people down there in saint Vincent. Bad talking people and don’t know how to address people. Those police need to be brought up on charges.
As a former law enforcement from the officer, (from the USA) that has lived in SVG almost 20 years, I recognize some of the usual SVG police procedure in this case. When good conduct occurs the credit is often given to an officer that had nothing to do with it. Probably in order to get that officer promoted faster. When bad conduct occurs…?
Beatings are obviously the SOP in the Vincentian Police Force. This is NOT because all the police are the worst criminals in the country, BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT. THEY ARE JUST POORLY TRAINED. AND SOME OF THE WORST BAD EGGS ARE IN HIGH POSITIONS. All of the officers will keep their mouths shut because negative things will happen if they do not. That is how it works in any fraternal organization.
Not only does the entire financial and economic system need drastic changes in SVG, but the Justice System also needs some big changes. It appears that the current leadership either does not have the courage, need or desire to make the needed changes. The next vote is still years away. Things are getting worse throughout the entire world but unless corrections are made in particular jurisdictions instead of continually getting worse and worse, year after year, the people will show their dissatisfaction at the polls and cheating will not work against the overwhelming dissatisfaction of the masses. If the current government wants to stay in office they better start doing the right thing… now! Yes, even leadership has to make sacrifices some time and not always force the public to suffer austerity, lack or opportunity and unfair treatment.
WTF! there’re at it again. Do these police officers even have high school diplomas? And we already know that they does lie as in the case where they shot a man in his home.(I wonder what the head of state thinks of the ‘Royal’ SVG cops) We only got part of the story until recently when the family came forward with their account of the events. Anywhere else this would be cause for revolt. We have a long way to go and the journey is not nice. it’s like we are not prepared. This is the treatment metered out by the Gunslaves regime. He on vacation with his wife in Cuba while the rest of the people suffer abuse and corruption.
Having read the whole one sided story, these strongly built innocent looking women did not mention a thing about what they did. How did they conduct themselves during the ordeal? Their narrative seemed like they did not move a muscle but were subjected to so much beating. After all those narrated blows all they showed was a little hicky on a neck.
Mr. Journalist your readers deserve more clarity on some of your stories. You need to ask the questions for us.
Maybe the police knew what they were up against to carry a 22 man squad,,,,,,,,,,
Mad police just showed up and start beating ppl with broom stick and slaps,,,,,,,,,,
Seems like this property has a history of harboring illegal activities,,,,,,,,,
Who escalated the situation for blows to start,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
I just can’t judge nor pass remarks against the Law men without hearing the conduct of these people during the whole saga.
You know I get so angry when reading stories like these. And I want to know why cant the lawyer bring a civil case against the Force and the officers involved instead of running to the media?
If this is true it is a very sad time in SVG when police are allow to treat people like that. Or they think it is within their right to act like that. Very sad dark time in SVG
Sad but nothing going to come of this once more how many more jah know
I do believe what I am reading. […] They can just walk into someone homes and do as they like. A precedent has been set that if you are a ULP you can do anything and you do not have to answer to anyone. We are living in a society that’s only one set of people has all the rights. As a Vincentian I have lost all trust in this regime we call Government. And as the saying goes “if the head bad, the whole body bad”. Bad governance is clearly seen.
Ms. Haynes/Antoine please sue the RSVGPF. Let justice prevail.
So now The men of St. Vincent and the Grenadines are adopting the slave masters ways in treating their own people As the colonizers did and are still doing today the European Ways wicked ,Brutal and disgusting it is so sad it’s time for my people to rise up wake up and understand research and know what they are bout two face, for this is just a smoke the fire is yet to come
Those who believe they are above the law doing this inconceivable lawless brutality needs to be jailed there are no human rights in my beautiful Island,I am waiting for the day as God continue to expose them and put them in jail!!
There are at least two sides to a story, but because the police have already developed a reputation of being cruel, I believe this story. The police often show themselves just to gain some sort of admiration. They do not dignify people in general. It is the height of top-class stupidity to go in a house and start beating up people if you’re searching for guns and ammunition. Even if the occupants were to question the police about their mission, the police have absolutely NO RIGHT to beat up the occupants. That is highly irresponsible, unreasonable, and stupid. The police need to learn to respect people and treat them the way they themselves would want to be treated. Matthew 7:12.
I really hope that the women get justice. I know Lawyer Baptiste will do a fine job, but St.Vincent and its so-called Justice system has become so very corrupt that I will not be surprised if the women don’t get justice.
Too much corruption and violence is in the police force. What a rotten system!
Yeah quow this is a whole heap of madness. These police are getting out of hand.
Do these tugs have a mother, sister, wife, children , neices ? What give rights for any police officer to alledgedly beat these female while the children look on? Very shameful to live in a banana Republic Island where those who are there to serve and protect are beating civilians. I understand when many says that they are not going back home to live and prefer to live on the streets. Very scary.
What is so surprising is that there are so little comments on the issue. If what is said is true, Vincentians should be hopping mad. Where is the sympathy for women? Perhaps it is all on Facebook.
He Aint Go Do Shit
He wud stand by His Men
Dis Is Madness On Professional
Craziness u name it
I Sure These Policemen hav mothers n sisters n Daughters
Wow Jus Wow
Every time police violence occurs it must be squarely blamed on the dynasty and the leadership. If the PM categorically came out and said this must stop it would stop. But by staying quiet on the subject for 20 years can only be translated by these dirty politically motivated police as approval of violence against Vincentians.
It also goes back to the police officers who almost beat a youth to death in Kingstown police station. They were charged with a lesser crime than what they committed, found guilty, appealed against verdict and lost the appeal. Then instead of being fired from the force with the loss of pensions, they were reinstated to their jobs and later promoted. Perhaps the police should have been prosecuted for gross bodily harm or attempted murder in the first place.
This is nothing new the beatings have been going on for years so therefore must be regarded as normal police policy, also government policy.
There now needs to be an international commission to investigate this top to bottom. This filth must stop but it has all been said before so we know beatings will continue. Human Rights!
This is a real case for us to call on defunding the government, send them all to Cuba where they will feel more at home.
Any institution is only as good as its head. The commissioner should be ashamed of himself for allowing these situations to be continually swept under the rug. Anyways only time will tell. Wicked bunch of useless officers. I’m sorry that those children have to experience that.
This kind of irresponsible and dirty behaviour by the police has been going on for years now. Our PM prides himself in being intelligent. I am therefore kindly asking him to suggest to the Chief Commissioner of Police that they have a Meeting or a series of Meetings with the entire police force. Or the Chief Commissioner of Police can take it upon himself to have such Meetings. The Meeting or Meetings must discuss what the Law says against police brutality. If the relevant authorities truly are dignified, then they SURELY WILL organize Meetings to discuss getting rid of police brutality. The Commissioner MUST impose stiff penalties for ANY police officer who is guilty of abusing civilians physically, verbally, sexually, or otherwise.
Neither the PM nor the Commissioner of Police should just lie down like a dead dog, doing nothing about police brutality. That’s utterly shameful! They should take pride in seeing the entire police force becoming a respected entity.
The police who slap that lady should be shot then put in prison.
Mr. Commissioner, please don’t let the police investigate the police. The officers involved should be on leave until the case is heard in a court. Get the children to testify about the entire issue, because the police will try to cover their arses. Charges should be brought against the officers who beat the women and cause the pain they suffered for no reason at all. No gun were found and this shows that the police were using a false report. All damages to the ladies involved and the property should be reimbursed immediately.
Change the laws in SVG so the people are protected from the police. No one or their property should be searched without a warrant. That’s the way the law should be administered, so people are treated equally no matter their standing in the country.
I think Taiwan should give the police bodycam to record their behaviour. You will never get the people’s help to solve crime in SVG unless they are treated with respect.
Police brutality is not something that should be taken lightly as the role of police is to serve and protect. It is very concerning to read of such harm at the hands of police. I’m curious to hear what the government or the head of police has to say and what their follow through will be. It is very discomforting to know that Vincentians are getting harmed by those that should be protecting everyone . Citizens should not feel fearful of the very people who are sworn to protect. This creates a culture of fear that scarily reminds me of an abusive relationship with an unfair power imbalance. Police should be aware of their role and their responsibility and if this incident is true, their needs to be accountability as police should not be held above the law that they themselves are at task with upholding. St. Vincent is not a communist country whereby it is a dictatorship ruled with an iron fist yet these constant stories of blatant abuse at the hands of the police is very concerning as I’m not reading reports of police accountability. As a result of this lack of follow through, I am left to wonder, is the head of police and the government doing enough to ensure the safety of all Vincentians.
The greatest risk to today for Vincentians, is not the Volcano, not COVID, it is the police. They will shoot you, beat you, ridicule you, and look for free handouts from traders.
The police are our worst risk of injury and violent death.
I would really like to hear thr other side of this story. Policemen just going in to a house n out of the blues just beating up women. The next side would be very intetesting. I don t want to pass any remarks but if this really happened without the women giving reasons for it then justice must prevail but cut out the politics. Ah done see it right here from the beginning to present. Lets take the politics out and deal with the matter fairly. But again, no man is to put their hands on any woman. Im totally against that.
I can see svg becoming like Jamaica where Police only go where other police are can’t attend parties or events with big crowds for fear of retribution and that’s the situation in Jamaica right now and the worst Part is it’s the ones that are innocent and never hurt anybody that is always vulnerable walking and always looking over your shoulder ain’t no way to be living.
Regardless of what these women did/didn’t do no man should be hitting a woman what if the table was reversed . Domestic violence is a problem and these policemen SIGNED an OATH to SERVE AND PROTECT. NOT TO ABUSED PEOPLE WITH THEIR POWER. THE LAW IS FOR EVERYONE NO ONE IS ABOVE THE LAW.
SOUNDS LIKE THEY BEEN WATCHING WAY TOO MUCH TV. WHO DO THESE CATS THINK THEY ARE?
THEY SHOULD ALL GO TO JAIL, BUT GUESS WHAT, NOT GOING TO HAPPEN. SVG SO CORRUPT TILL IT CANT CORRUPT ANYMORE.
JEHOVAH GOD IS NOT SLEEPING .
Let me assume that the ladies stood their ground and confronted the Police as to why they were at the house. A trained group of police officers should never behaved in such a manner. Most of all I find the Commissioner of Police reaction very troubling. If your head is bad, your whole body is bad. I’m sure their are many more of these cases in St. Vincent. Such behaviour of the Police in any country have to be a major concern of the Citizens. I sincerely hope that this case will bring about positive change in the way the Police in St. Vincent conduct and execute their duties.
Comments are closed.