MSJ Leader David Abdullah claims a senior Police Officer is abusing his power by intimidating residents of Sixth Company, New Grant. He also claims that the officer in question is seeking revenge after the residents filed complaints against him last month for injuries they sustained when he sprayed them with a firehose. Abdullah is calling on the Acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams to suspend the senior officer until the investigation by the Police Complaints Authority is over.
A formal complaint has been made to the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) about the treatment of residents in 6th Company New Grant on January 10th by members of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service.
Movement for Social Justice David Abdulah is calling on acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams to immediately suspend a police sergeant who is being investigated by the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) over assault allegations stemming from a protest at Sixth Company, New Grant, last month. Residents were allegedly hosed down by an officer during the protest.
Abdulah made the call during a press conference yesterday, saying it was highly unethical that the officer was still on duty while the PCA was conducting its probe.
Complaining that the residents are being harassed and threatened by the police, Abdulah said at least two of six people who were injured during the spraying incident have since been arrested and charged. They are currently at Remand Yard prison as their relatives have been unable to secure their bail.
A video showing the officer using a hose from a fire tender to spray protesting residents, who had blocked the road on January 10 to protest bad roads, has been circulating on social media sites.
Yesterday, Abdulah, along with Oilfield Workers Trade Union president general Ancel Roget and vice president Ricky Benny, met with residents at Sixth Company to give them feedback on what has transpired since their last meeting on January 13.
Abdulah said on January 18 he wrote PCA director David West requesting an investigation into the incident. He said letters were also hand delivered to the office of the Police Commissioner, Director of Public Prosecutions, Minister of National Security and Professional Standards Bureau (PSB).
“We expect all of them will be making their own investigations,” he said.
Abdulah said a PCA investigator has since interviewed several residents. He said the video footage and copies of the medical cards of residents who sought medical attention have also been handed over to the PCA.
One of the residents, Joycelyn Neptune, 60, who was sprayed in her eyes, underwent laser surgery on her right eye and is expected to undergo the same procedure on her other eye later this month. Neptune complained her sight has been seriously affected.
Abdulah said, “We cannot have a situation where investigations are taking place and the police officer who is being investigated is still on the job and is hiding behind the uniform and his power to harass and intimidate residents who have made a complaint against him. That is absolutely unacceptable.”
He also called on the PSB to take immediate action against the officer.
With regards to the infrastructural problems, Abdulah said he also spoke with Local Government Minister Kazim Hosein, but he indicated that they fell within the purview of Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan. He said he was told temporary work was done at one of the landslips until additional resources become available.
However, the residents said they were tired of “the mamaguy” and are prepared to continue protesting until their roads, drains and bridges are properly repaired.