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Thomas may bring class action suit against police

Thomas may bring class action suit against police


A coalition of the willing may be formed here to launch a class action suit to highlight the problem of police brutality.{{more}}

This is according to Attorney at Law, Jomo Thomas, who is convinced that hundreds of persons will be willing to be part of such an action, because police brutality is a serious problem.

Thomas is the lawyer for the 2006 calypso king, Grantley “Ipa” Constance, who claims that he was given an unprovoked slap by a police officer, on Wednesday, October 24, at around

10 p.m., a short distance from his Paul’s Avenue home.

“We are exploring it, rather than bringing a case for Ipa alone, think(ing) through bringing a class action suit instead,” said Thomas, adding that he has been in consultation with other attorneys about the issue.

“We have not backed down and will not back down,” Thomas said, as he insisted that the officer who reportedly slapped Ipa, and the officer who gave the order should be dismissed from the force.

Thomas told SEARCHLIGHT that he was also concerned that up to seven days after the incident was reported to the police, “nothing was being done.”

However, Inspector Jonathan Nicholls of the public relations and complaints department of the police force said the he is leading the investigation into the matter.

Nicholls told SEARCHLIGHT that up to press time (Wednesday, November 7) only two witnesses had come forward to give their account of what took place.

Nicholls said that the other persons that were said to be eyewitnesses are being called to give a statement on the matter, so that the police investigation process could be thoroughly informed.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves made it clear earlier this week that his government doesn’t condone police brutality.

“This government does not support police men brutalizing innocent civilians; we don’t support it at all,” Dr Gonsalves said at a press conference last Monday.

He said that when he spoke to Ipa about the incident, he advised him (Ipa)to get himself a good lawyer to look into the matter.

While stressing that he did not want to say anything that could prejudice the case, Dr Gonsalves said that if Ipa’s statement on the matter is accurate, he has both civil and criminal routes at his disposal.

He recalled an incident back when he practiced law, when he won a case against the police for a client that had made a similar claim to Ipa’s.

Dr Gonsalves said that last Saturday, he visited a restaurant in Paul’s Avenue and again had discussions with Ipa.

“Ipa is my friend. I am sorry about the incident,” Dr Gonsalves said.

Dr Gonsalves also said that he was informed that the officers involved in the incident will not be used to carry out duty in Paul’s Avenue while this matter is being dealt with.

He said that he agreed with that move because the men in question would not be able to “command the respect and support of the community.”

The Prime Minister, however, cautioned persons who may want to take advantage of Ipa’s situation, in an effort to have one up on the police.

He said that Ipa’s incident is a separate and distinct matter and should be dealt with as such. (KJ)