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Naval officer stripped by local cops

Naval officer stripped by local cops

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A Vincentian serving in the United States Navy, who claims that he was humiliated by local police while home for his grandmother’s funeral, says he will lodge formal complaints of abuse to the US Embassy and his US Military commanders.{{more}}

Rafeek Oliver, a 2nd class Petty Officer in the US Navy, who returned to St Vincent for the first time in 15 years to attend the funeral of his grandmother, said that he suffered the indignity of being made to strip down to his underwear by police last Sunday, outside the Barrouallie Community Centre, where final preparations were being made for the reception that was to follow the funeral.

Oliver, who was flown to St Vincent by the US Navy from Japan where he was stationed, told SEARCHLIGHT that he was shocked and hurt by the incident that occurred around 1pm last Sunday, March 30th.

“I was carrying food upstairs to the centre when I heard someone say “tell him take off that pants”,” Oliver said.

Oliver said that after dropping the food inside he came back downstairs and was told by a group of police officers in a vehicle to take off the pants, a pair of camouflage shorts. He said that he tried to identify himself, but one officer came out of the vehicle and said “you know where you dey, you not in America now, this is St Vincent.”

Oliver said that he wasn’t allowed to show his military identification to the police.

He told SEARCHLIGHT that he was willing to comply with the police orders because as a military man he respects laws, but asked politely if he could take the pants off upstairs instead of in the road.

“No, take it off here. You want me to help you take it off?” Oliver said that a police officer responded, and he was forced to take his pants off in the road, as family and friends looked on.

“I felt like my dignity was taken from me,” Oliver said, swearing that he wasn’t rude or disrespectful to the officers in any way.

“It was so upsetting; I planned to retire in my homeland, to bring my wife and child here, but now…” Oliver said as he shook his head in disbelief.

He said that a report was made to the Police Public Relations Department.

Superintendent Artis Davis confirmed this to SEARCHLIGHT and said that an investigation is ongoing.

Two hours after his public humiliation, Oliver then walked into the Barrouallie Seventh Day Adventist Church and delivered the Eulogy at his grandmother’s funeral, still smarting from what had transpired earlier.

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