AWRIGHT DEN!: Baygon and the plastic bag
LIFE CAN BE SO unpredictable and harsh at times. You could have just spoken to a friend or a loved one five minutes ago and shortly after, you get a report that the person just got in an accident, was arrested, was injured or even died. What makes it harder is if the person is a spouse, a parent or your child.
Last Friday, there was an article in the WEEKEND NATION titled, Cops Beat Him. In the article a mother accused the police of beating her son. A supporting picture in showed a male body which we assume to be the lady’s son lying down with blood on the floor.
As I was growing up, I would hear many stories of police beating people for various reasons. Some people confessed because the blows were too much; others confessed although they were innocent so the blows would stop; some refused to confess though they were guilty, and then there are those who took the beating and refused to confess because they knew they were innocent. What is interesting is that talk about police beatings isn’t new, but it seems nothing is done about it. All you hear is, “we will investigate” or “make a complaint”.
The police have been able over the past two years to apprehend perpetrators of heinous crimes quite quickly and I commend them for that. I assume there are numerous interrogation techniques to get information out of a suspect, but I do not subscribe to beating people to obtain that information or to ascertain whether they have any.
What if the beating leads to disfigurement, a disability or death; will you just say sorry?
I was on the road one day and a Rasta with very few teeth in his mouth was picking coconuts and offered me one. As I was drinking, he started to talk to me about how much he hated police.
He relayed a story where some men shot and robbed a man and then told the police he did it. He said he was home and the police came to his house and arrested him. He said the police brought a statement for him to sign (which he didn’t write) stating he shot and robbed the man. When he refused, they started to beat him.
He told the police they had to kill him because he wasn’t signing for something he didn’t do. He went on to tell me the police knocked out most of his teeth and “mash up” his back, leaving him in hospital for some time. He said he was remanded for six months and the case was later thrown out because there was no evidence against him.
Another man told me he was guilty of robbery and was taken into custody. He said the police brought a statement for him to sign (which he didn’t write) stating he shot and killed a person.
After refusing to sign the statement, he said he was taken into a room, stripped naked and placed in a chair with no seat. He said a plastic bag was placed over his head and Baygon spayed into the bag. Then he was punched in the stomach, causing him to cough and inhale the spray. He said he started to choke and after a while the bag was taken off. He said after that he was hit in his testicles with a big book.
He said he passed out and when he woke up, saw evidence that he was foaming. He never signed and was just charged with the robbery.
The police have a difficult and dangerous job but they need the public’s support in order for them to do it effectively. They should not seek to do things to jeopardise that relationship.
I was once unjustly targeted and roughed up by three plain-clothed police officers one night while I was a passenger in a car because I had locks. I wasn’t beaten but totally disrespected. Ironically, the next few days, police officers came through my gap looking for someone and asked me if I knew the whereabouts of the person.
Well, you could guess who didn’t help them.
There are many decent cops, some who I call friends, so don’t believe all are the same. I believe the time has come for police to wear body cameras while on duty, and confessions and interrogations be videotaped so as to protect both the public and the police from false accusations.
•Corey Worrell, a former Commonwealth Youth Ambassador, is director of C2J Foundation Inc., a project-based NGO focusing on social development. Email: [email protected]