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Damali Phillips, 13, left, show his face left swollen after a Vincentian police officer pelted him with a bottle of body lotion at a camp in St. Lucia and his father Dwight Phillips with a an arm he alleged a police officer broke in Kingstown in 2017.
Damali Phillips, 13, left, show his face left swollen after a Vincentian police officer pelted him with a bottle of body lotion at a camp in St. Lucia and his father Dwight Phillips with a an arm he alleged a police officer broke in Kingstown in 2017.
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A Spring Village man who is still awaiting justice after suffering a broken arm in 2017, allegedly at the hands of a police officer, says he feels “like a dead man walking” after a police officer struck his son in the face with a bottle of body lotion at a police youth camp last month.

The incident occurred in St. Lucia on July 30, where the 13-year-old youth, Damali Phillips was among Vincentians taking part in the summer camp, whose directors included police youth clubs co-ordinator from St. Vincent.

Part of the incident was recorded on video and showed the man, said to be one Station Sergeant of Police McKenzie, scuffling the child, who resisted, before pelting an object, said to be the bottle of lotion, striking Damali Phillips in the face.

Damali Phillips’ father, Dwight Phillips told iWitness News, on Tuesday that his son was not taken for medical attention in St. Lucia and he had to take him to see a doctor on Aug. 1, one day after the campers returned to St. Vincent, as scheduled.

Dwight Phillips said that the doctor concluded that his son, whose face was still swollen, had received “a serious lash to the face” and prescribed medication.

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The teen, speaking to iWitness News via telephone in the presence of his father, said that he is a member of the Spring Village Police Youth Club and as a result of this, he and about eight other members of his club, including his younger brother, attended the camp in St. Lucia.

He said the camp ran from July 15 to 31 and a lot of young people from St. Vincent attended.

The child told iWitness News that on July 30, he was “downstair” the camp site when a Vincentian police officer came with two club members who had gotten “moushed”.

“Moushing” is a staple fun activity at camps, in which campers put powders (such as flour or baby powder), gels (such as petroleum jelly or lotion) or makeup on sleeping campers.

Damali Phillips said the officer took them in the direction of Sergeant Billy, but Billy was sleeping so he went to McKenzie.

The teen told iWitness News that he saw McKenzie with his (the teen’s) body lotion and he (the teen) asked what it was doing there.

“He said, ‘You call like moush? Moush back you all self,” the teen said, adding that McKenzie was trying to put cream in his (the teen’s) hand.

“Then I said, ‘I ain’t taking any.’ Then after he pelt the toothpaste after me. I ran then stood up and told him if he hit me, I would hit him back,” the teen said.

Damali Phillips said McKenzie then walked up to him and slapped and scuffled him up.

“I was trying to get away but I couldn’t so I scuffled him also,” the teen told iWitness News.

“After that, he let me go and was trying to put the cream on my face. He pelted the cream after me and I ducked and the cream hit me in my head.”

The teen said that the police officer who had initially come with the two other campers came and pulled away McKenzie and his (the teen’s room leader), a civilian woman from St. Vincent came and pulled the teen away.

Damali Phillips said that the two sides of his face were swollen, from when he was slapped and when he was struck with the body of lotion.

The teen said that his police youth club coordinator, Cordia Audain, spoke to him about the incident but he was not taken to see a doctor in St. Lucia.

A part of the interaction between the teen and officer was recorded on video and circulated via social media, but the teen said he does not know who made the recording.

The teen told iWitness News that he was still feeling pain in his face.

“When it happened, the first thing I wanted to do was hit him back so other police talked to me and told me not to do it. So, I just done with it,” he said.

He said that McKenzie did not talk to him about the incident.

Damali Phillips also told iWitness News that he will continue to be a member of the police youth club, despite the incident.

However, the teen’s father was not so forgiving, and told iWitness News that were it left to him alone, his children would have nothing further to do with the police youth club.

Dwight Phillips said he learnt of the incident on July 30 when his wife called, telling him that there had been an incident in St. Lucia. She showed him the video when he got home.

The father said he asked his son if they had taken him to the doctor and Damali said no.

He said that when campers returned to St. Vincent on July 31, he saw the police officer who had allegedly assaulted the child and the officer looked at him (Dwight Phillips) and said nothing.

He told iWitness News that following morning he went to the Criminal Investigations Department to file a report and an officer told him that they had to see the child before issuing him with report-of-medical-injury forms.

The father said that after receiving the forms, he took the child to a private physician, who recorded his findings.

He said he tried to make an appointment to see Commissioner of Police Colin John on Aug. 2, but his secretary said that the police chief could not see him and directed him to the Police Public Relations and Complaint Department.

Dwight Phillips said an officer at the department took a statement from his son and kept the medical form, of which he (Dwight Phillips) had made a copy.

He said that after his son gave the statement, the officer told him that he could get into trouble if anything in the statement was not true.

“My son said whatever he said is the truth,” Phillips told iWitness News, adding that he and his son signed the statement.

He said the officer told him (Dwight Phillips) that he had to return to the department the following day, Aug. 3 to give a statement as he was the one who had accompanied the child.

Dwight Phillips said he and his wife went the following day and the officer called them both into the office and apologised on behalf of the club and the police chief.

He said the officer said that the incident was unfortunate and it was affecting the officer who was involved mentally, physically and workwise and he really wants to apologise to them for what he had done.  

Phillips said the police PR officer also told him that the police chief wanted to see him and his wife to have a talk along with Billy, McKenzie and the child.

Dwight Phillips, however, said he told the officer that he has a lawyer and he would consult with his lawyer about what to do.

“That was Thursday. I haven’t heard from them since,” he told iWitness News, adding that he was scheduled to meet the following day, Wednesday, Aug. 9, with his lawyer, Jomo Thomas.

Dwight phillips
Dwight Phillips’ hand was broken, allegedly when he was struck by a police officer in 2017. (iWN photo)

‘I am seeking justice for my child’

Dwight Phillips that he was not pleased with the incident.

“Well, to be honest, I feel really bad about it. You go on a camp — and I believe you went on camps — and even they tell you no moushing, people still moush. Without moushing there is no camp,” Phillips told iWitness News.  

“And the whole thing came from moushing and my son said he told him that is not he who do the mooshing,” the father said.

“For me alone they don’t go back to any police youth club, no meeting, nothing at all; they don’t go back to anything concerning police.

“As far as I know the police youth club is the brainchild of the prime minister. It is there to guide the youth in the right way, and here you have a station sergeant of police, I see some people that maybe the child was rude. That doesn’t give him the right to abuse anybody’s child.”

The father reasoned that had another police officer done something, Mc Kenzie “cannot put his hand on the junior police officer. So why put your hand on a child?”

The father said he was shocked when a police officer told him that nothing would come of the incident because it occurred in St. Lucia.

He said that when he spoke to the officer at the police PR department, he asked the officer whether he would have been pleased if a police officer had treated his child that way.

“He said he would not have been satisfied,” Phillips said.

“I am seeking justice for my child. Right now, I feel as if me and my family are attacked by the police force for no reason at all. First at all, it was me and then my son and we didn’t do anything at all,” he said, referring to the broken arms he suffered in 2017.

“And right now, I feel I am a dead man walking because of the police force because if I can’t get any justice from this for child, they will have to take me down. Anybody can read between the lines,” Phillips said.

Asked whether he was sure he wanted to say that, Phillips told iWitness News:

“Well, I say it. I am like a dead man walking because of the police force. Anytime the police can kill me. Why are they attacking me? They are attacking me for no reason at all. I could have understood if I committed a crime and they wanted to get at me, but I haven’t done anything.”

He noted that after a police officer broke his arm in 2017, he was slapped with two charges, which the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) later withdrew.

Phillips said that police had charged him with resisting the arrest and assaulting the police officer who broke his hand.

He said that based on their investigation the DPP’s office dropped the charges and the police force said they would have disciplined the officer.

Phillips noted that John, who is now police chief, was then the assistant DPP.

“And instead of taking disciplinary action, he was promoted to corporal,” Phillips said of the officer who allegedly injured him.

He further said that he was supposed to be compensated and had filed all the relevant documents but never received a cent.

In an Aug. 1 press release, the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force said it had “launched an investigation into the circumstances which led to an altercation between a police officer and a member of the Police Youth Club (PYC)”.

The statement said the incident which “was recorded and is currently being circulated on social media, reportedly occurred in St. Lucia during the PYC annual summer camp. “The RSVGPF does not advocate or condone violence in any form whether it is perpetrated by a police officer or a member of the public,” the statement said.

6 replies on “Teen falls victim to police violence years after cop broke his dad’s arm (+video)”

  1. I can tell that police officer is an ignorant person who needs to be dealt with by the full force of the law ,you wanna tell me that’s a professional who’s supposed to defuse situation but instead he’s acting more like a gangsta ?
    I’m an ex cop but I’ll make this clear to McKenzie and any other like him
    If that was my son /nephew you’d regret your action or even the thought of it

  2. SVG police goons lack transparency. I hope the lawyer will include the commissioner, Ralph and all police who are in control.
    How could a police assault a teenager and get away with such criminal action?

  3. Police mek some ar yo so wicked ? police yo too wicked. hope the layers who spoke out on the crime situation speak out on this one to, and the newly appointed magisrate speak out again as he did before . I am saying again that EVIL AND WICKEDNESS CAN ONLY CONTINUE IF THE FEW GOOD MEN AND WOMEN SAY NOTHING AND DO NOTHING.

  4. When I was about 14 years old I gazed into the Police Barracks in Town and a Police officer asked me what I wanted. I was so frightened that I walked down to the corner with my heart still jumping. Now I say this to say that I feared and respected the Police so much. Tell me which Police Officer, a grown man with the rank of a Station Sergeant would be happy to be ” moushed” by a camping teen? Read again the 13 yrs said that he scuffled back the officer and he wanted to back the officer. Now which 13 yrs old boy can win a fight with a male police officer? We might be raising monsters, just saying.

  5. Duke DeArment says:

    I lived in SVG for 18 years. I am former law- enforcement from the USA. I had to leave SVG because of the Covid Mandates. I Now live in Belarus where they have NO mandates. The Police and ALL civil servants here are SO VERY MUCH the opposite of SVG. RESPECT AND COURTESY is incredible here!
    If anyone wants to know where or who should train the future of SVG police…BELARUS!

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