The police officers who allegedly beat a bare-chested 10-year-old boy because he removed a bicycle from a yard in Diamond, on Sunday, were “paraded” before the acting commissioner of police on Monday.
Police said in a statement that. they have launched an investigation into the allegations, adding, “… the appropriate action will be taken upon completion of the said investigation.”
The Police Public Relations and Complaints Department further said in the press release that “a senior police officer” attached to the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) in the South Central Division was assigned to conduct the investigation.
The release did not identify the officer even as it solicited information from the public to help in the investigation.
The development became public around 7:47 p.m. on Sunday when a woman who identified herself as Rosita Phillips appeared in a Facebook live video saying she was outside the Stubbs Police Station.
Phillips said police had locked up her 10-year-old son that afternoon, alleging that he had gone into someone’s yard and taken their bike.
She said she went to the police station to find out what was going on and the officers released the child to her and told her they would investigate the matter.
Phillips said that when she was in the yard of the police station, the child told her that his back was hurting.
“Two police officer beat my child. If you see the bruise and dem in ye back and all thing,” she said, speaking in the Vincentian vernacular.
“I calling on authority who listening me now and who seeing this. I don’t satisfy. If you see the condition of my child’s back,” she said.
The child’s back, which was later shown in the video, appeared to have marks on it and he appeared to be bleeding slightly in one area.
“I want to know if they lock up my child if they nah fuh get in touch with me as the guardian and question him in front of me,” Phillips said.
“They supposed to lock up a 10-year-old child and beat him without he parents know anything way going on? … If is me beat him and chop up his back like this, they going lock me up.”
‘the allegations are painful to listen to’
Meanwhile, the police statement said that the allegations of abuse and misbehaviour by police officers towards a the minor had been drawn to the attention of the acting Commissioner of Police, Enville Williams, and other senior-ranking members of the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force.
“The officers implicated in the allegation were paraded before the Acting Commissioner of Police earlier today (29.01.24) at the Office of the Commissioner of Police, Police Headquarters in Kingstown,” the statement said.
It asked that the public bear with the police as they investigate the matter.
“While the allegations are painful to listen to, we must strive to be fair to all parties involved. We, however, wish to reiterate that the police force is an organisation that does not operate outside of the laws of St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) and no officer will be tolerated if he or she chooses to do so,” the statement said.
“Police abuse and allegations of police abuse are not policies of the RSVGPF. Any police officer who is found culpable for such allegations will be dealt with in accordance with the law.”
The police said they will further update on the investigation and actions to be taken shortly.
“Once again, we thank our citizens for continuing to work with RSVGPF to keep our nation safe,” the statement said.
“Anyone with information that can assist the investigation is encouraged to contact the Calliaqua Police Station at 1-784-458-4200, Police Emergency at 911/999, or any police station or officer you are comfortable speaking with. Any information received would be treated confidentially.”
Child said he removed a bike from a yard
In the Facebook live video, a man who refers to Phillips as “mommy” asked the child to say what had happened.
The child said that he went into somebody’s yard and removed a bike that was there.
“And then police come down by Diamond and meet me riding the bike and they tek me and hold me by me hand and bring me by the station,” the child said in the Vincentian vernacular.
“Then them tell me fuh siddung pon top the bench. Then one ye corporal tek off he belt and start to beat me. Then the other fat one been going tek off he leather belt to come and beat me but dem puh down that and the thin one gi the fat one ye belt fuh beat me,” the child said.
Responding to questions from the adult male, he further said that he was crying during the beating.
The child said that he did not think that what he had done was right but that he also did not do anything to be beaten by the police.
He said he did not give them attitude, back answer or said anything out of place to them and did not know why they had beaten him.
Further, Phillips said in the video that she had asked a corporal of police at the station the names of the police officers allegedly involved and for a report of medical injury form.
A report of medical injury form is a document that police give to people who allege that they have been assaulted.
The complainant would take it to a doctor who would conduct a medical examination and record the findings on the form, which is then returned to police.
The doctor’s findings help police to decide what charges, if any, to bring against an accused person.
“And all ah dem going in the station and leave me in the yard sit down,” Phillips said, adding that she cannot walk or see.
“I want to know what to do this hour… I need help … This is the way that police serve and protect?”
Meanwhile, the man who referred to Phillips as “mommy”, said that when he went to the station earlier, the same “fat one” that the child said had beaten him, “come ah square up side me like if he could do me something.
“So that ah way he dey pon whole time. So, if me kick on badda, he been go lash me? But dey nah know wha going on. If ah been my pickney, hell freeze over.”
He said the police were hearing him and Phillips speak but were not coming to give them a report of medical injury form.
“Dah why me nah like police and me nah going fraid fuh talk in front ah station. Me nah like police,” he said as his mother urged him to stop.
Pleas for police to take child to see doctor
As the video continues, the man shouts at the police to carry the child to the doctor immediately.
Phillips pleaded with her viewers, asking them to contact acting Assistant Commissioner of Police Trevor “Buju” Bailey or to share the live broadcast with him.
She later made a similar plea regarding the acting police chief or anyone in high authority.
A voice of another man off camera told them to take the child “by the public relations tomorrow”.
The woman said it was one of the corporals telling her to go to the Police Public Relations Office on Monday (today).
The man who referred to Phillips as mommy said it seems as if the police were after him all week and were trying to “draw me out”.
He said it would have been “war” had the police officer lashed him
As the tension mounts in the video, the woman said that if Bailey or no one came to see her Sunday night, the police would have to shoot her down.
“Because if me catch that fat police dey, we ah lash um back. This ah one war dem going open up with me and police.”
Meanwhile, the man said “war start tonight” if the police did not take the child to the doctor.
“Doh tek that fuh joke. Doh slight me. And if you mek me geh too vex, me go home and come back and do thousand years ah prison.”
At one point, the video showed a person, presumably a police officer, sitting behind the counter of the police station.
Phillips told the man who called him “mommy” that his behaviour was not right and two wrongs don’t make a right.
The video ended as Phillips was saying that they did not have money to take the child to the doctor and that it would cost her $90 if she were to hire a vehicle to do so.
She appeared to be pleading with a police officer to use one of their vehicles to take the child to see a doctor.
The police press release did not offer any information on the status of the child.