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Protest in City against police brutality

Protest in City against police brutality

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Protest action against alleged crimes of police brutality continued outside the Kingstown headquarters of the Royal St Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force on Wednesday, May 27, 2009.{{more}}

For the fourth consecutive week, protestors, led by members of the People’s Movement for Change (PMC), carried placards demanding an end to police brutality and calling for greater transparency in the manner in which reports of alleged police brutality are dealt with.

This week’s protest, which the organizers have indicated is the final one, was by far the largest, with most of the 100 protestors braving the blazing sun hailing from the Vermont community. That community was thrown in a state of shock on Thursday, May 21st, when the lives of two villagers and a Barbadian fugitive were ended by police gunfire.

Some vented their anger and frustration at the police to the SEARCHLIGHT. “Way dem ah get paid to do? Kill people? Because it seem like that is the only thing dem doing nowadays,” one man said.

Jonathan Chapman, grandfather of shooting victim Asborn Devon Nickie, said that his grandson did not deserve to die in the manner in which he did. Seemingly buckling under the heartache of losing his grandson, Chapman, 77, said Nickie left his home around 5pm on that tragic day and said he was going to the river to bathe. “He say, ‘Uncle John, ah going hold a fresh down by the river eh.’ Then around 6 pm, I hear badam badam and next ting I know my grandson dead,” Chapman sobbed.

The elderly man stated that something has to be done quickly with the situation of police brutality before it gets out of hand. “My grandson just get ah innocent death and this thing is getting too wicked! Too wicked!” Chapman fumed.

Meanwhile, in a letter to Prime Minister and Minister of National Security Dr Ralph Gonsalves, the PMC said: “We are particularly concerned about the killings of 3 persons at Vermont. While we note the police statements, the killings amount to a grave escalation of police action. There are only 2 known facts. 3 persons are dead and 1 of them is a fugitive. All else may wilt under scrutiny. Therefore, only a thorough going, transparent investigation will allay community fears and demonstrate that our police properly executed their oath to protect and to serve.”

The letter, dated May 27 and signed by PMC Chairman Oscar Allen and General Secretary Jomo Thomas, called for the police oversight committee and its chairman, the Reverend Victor Job, to become proactive. “The reverend’s Oversight Committee must insert in the media its address, terms of reference, and times when persons may make contact and lodge complaints. It must indicate to prospective complainants the basic information which they need to bring and erect a signboard or name plate where its main place of work can be found,” the letter said.

The PMC also informed the Prime Minister that they are withdrawing their picket as they wait for “clear signs from the police and the other authorities that they have heeded our call.”

“We have no intention to tolerate police brutality. We do not withdraw so that there can be business as before. We withdraw in expectation,” the letter, which was copied to Commissioner of Police Keith Miller and Chairman of the Police Oversight Committee Victor Job ended.