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Youths claim they were beaten by cops

Youths claim they were beaten by cops

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What happened in the Central Police Station on the night of Monday, November 17th, 2008, is highly contested, but from what transpired at a press conference earlier this week, it is clear the matter is about to erupt.{{more}}

On one hand, Lawyer Jomo Thomas made a stunning claim that Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officers of the Royal St.Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force used excessive force against two of his clients, 15-year-old Jemark Jackson and 16-year-old Kemron Mc Dowald.

Thomas made the claim on Tuesday, December 2, 2008, at a press conference at his office in the Hinds Building in Kingstown.

On the other hand, the police officers against whom the allegations have been brought have denied them and have also found them to be surprising, said Commissioner of Police, Keith Miller, in an interview on the matter last Wednesday afternoon.

Miller told SEARCHLIGHT, standing at the centre of an allegation and a denial, he has to wait on the medical report.

“The medical evidence is crucial,” said the Commissioner of Police. At press time he said he had not yet received the report.

COP Miller said if the police did beat Jackson and McDowald, they would have to answer for it according to the regulations that govern their actions.

Jackson, who was taken up by the police on Monday, November 17th, 2008, along with McDowald, on suspicion of being involved in a series of crimes, broke down in tears while making allegations that police officers assaulted him in a horrific fashion.

He said he and Kemron were arrested outside a secondary school in Kingstown shortly after midday. He claimed that they were taken to the Central Police Station where they were thrown into a cell, slapped and boxed around.

Jackson recalled that one of the officers who was beating them warned them to wait until dark because night is longer than day.

“They put me on a chair to sit down and start to question me about a different case with Cell World. (A police officer) give me the first hose and burst way me finger. They then put me on a table and hold down me hand and me foot and start to beat me with the hose all in me head and all over. (Police Officer 1) hold me by me hands and (Police Officer 2) hold me by me two foot and they lift me up off the table and slam me on the ground. They lift me up and do it two more times and they start to kick me in my belly and my chest.

“He (Kemron) say why they doing me so. They tek the gun off the table and give him one shot (gun butt) in his neck…they then tek the hose and beat him, beat him,” said Jackson with tears streaming down his face.

Jackson said before he was taken to the hospital, he was kicked again by a police officer.

McDowald, giving an account of his experience, told the media that one of the police officers struck him so hard on his right ear that it began to bleed. The young man also mentioned receiving a gun butt from a police officer.

Thomas said he and his clients wanted to bring to the country a grave matter of national importance. He told the media that the alleged beating was ‘savage’.

Thomas said while Jackson lay at the hospital, he lapsed into unconsciousness for seven days: “He couldn’t move. He wasn’t responding to touch. His eyes were shuttered. His tongue was out. Clearly he had no control over his faculties.”

Thomas said on Monday this week, when he was writing the report from the young men, he had to stop because he was shaken by the young men’s experience.

The media asked Thomas whether Jackson had any physical evidence to show that he was brutalized. The young man raised his shirt and showed three small bruises. Thomas told the media that Jackson also suffered a ‘burst’ on one of his fingers and reminded the media that 18 days had now passed.

Thomas said all he wants is justice for his clients.

Jemark and Kemron were accompanied by Michael Richards, Jemark’s uncle, and Patricia McDowald, Kemron’s mother.