A joint police and army stop-and-search cordoned off picturesque Crab Hill, St Lucy, this morning, leading to the arrest of four suspects sought by police – but not before one woman’s claim of a degrading early morning search of her home.
About 100 people were searched during the exercise and when police wrapped up the operations this afternoon four people wanted in connection with serious criminal matters had been detained, said Police spokesman Sergeant Michael Blackman.
A Barbados TODAY team witnessed armed police and soldiers at the entrance to the northernmost rural community stopping cars as the entered and exited.
Some travellers were quizzed by officers as to whether they had a legitimate reason for entering the area.
Crab Hill resembled a ghost town as many shops closed and route taxis ferried few if any passengers.
Many tight-lipped residents whom Barbados TODAY met were too afraid to speak or even venture from their homes.
The stepped-up police presence comes two weeks after the September 30 shooting death of Dexter Lashley, 40, the likely victim of apparent criminal gang warfare. At the time residents fear a deadly reprisal unless police caught Lashley’s killer.
“If the police don’t find the man that do the shooting [they’re] going to find him dead.
If the police don’t find he, them going to tek out he,” said a Crab Hill man who wished to remain anonymous.
But a cousin of slain Dexter Lashley has told Barbados TODAY of being forced along with her boyfriend to sit naked and watch as police searched her home for concealed weapons.
Lisa Emmanuel, a 28-year-old cook said that she was traumatized to find officers in her house this morning when she woke up completely naked with boyfriend Rasheed Drakes.
“When I got down off the bed I found the policemen inside of the house already. More than two policemen were already in my house. They went all behind here searching and all sort of thing. They did up all there [and] I was naked and they put me to sit down [in the living room]. My boyfriend and I were naked,” she stressed.
Emmanuel said that she felt extremely violated as not only was she naked and having to endure damage to her home as police, armed with a warrant, searched her home.
“This got me feel so bad I cannot sleep in here tonight because the door cannot shut,” she told Barbados TODAY. She said officers broke down her front and back doors, ransacked her clothes, furniture, galvanized fence, ceiling boards, floorboards and tossed urine which she had in a small bucket inside her home.
“After they done search, them was inside the house already. I was here sitting down and one of the policemen hand [boyfriend] the search warrant. I asked the police officers, “Is this search warrant for me or for he, as this is my house,” Emmanuel queried, adding that it was only after the search was completed that a female officer told her to get dressed.
“I ain’t put on no clothes. Them come in; it did 15 or more police officers in my house. After they finished a policewoman come in and told me to get up and come for my clothes. I went in there and look for clothes,” she said.
This was not the first time that her house was searched by police as she expressed frustration with the recurrence as she owns no firearms, she told Barbados TODAY.
“This ain’t the first time for me. All the time so, I do not have guns. I work hard for my money. I am a young girl; I want to see things in life,” she said, adding that her house being uprooted by the police comes a mere two weeks after her cousin was grotesquely shot and killed.
“After these things that was happening about here -and Dexter was family to me, too – I was sad . . . . I feel real bad [about his death]. I ain’t eat for weeks now,” she said.
Emmanuel’s mother declined to comment, saying only she is a “church woman”.
In the search warrant, a copy of which was obtained by Barbados TODAY, police said they were conducting investigations at Lisa Emmanuel’s home on suspicion that Drakes was in possession of an unlicensed firearm. Drakes was later taken by police for questioning, Emmanuel told Barbados TODAY.
When contacted, Acting Inspector John Rollock from the department responsible for police conduct said while he could not comment specifically on Emmanuel’s case, he noted that in normal police procedure, female occupants are allowed to dress, when police arrive to conduct a search.