Frustrated with the “degrading” treatment of yet another client allegedly at the hands of the Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF), Attorney-at-Law Asante Brathwaite is requesting a full investigation into the actions of lawmen and has signalled her intention to start civil legal proceedings against the force.
In a letter to the Commissioner of Police Tyrone Griffith that was copied to the Attorney General Dale Marshall, Brathwaite outlined a series of events between her client Jabarry Bennett and officers that resulted in Bennett being forced to seek medical attention after being allegedly choked, beaten and kicked.
Bennett has been remanded to prison on a gun possession charge.
According to Brathwaite, who is representing Bennett in association with Michael Lashley Q.C., their client was stopped while riding his motorcycle without a helmet near the Errol Barrow Park in the Pine, St Michael on September 24. A police constable then accused him of “doing bare ass” before placing his hands around Bennett and forcing him to the ground. Attempts to inform the officers that he could not breathe reportedly fell on deaf ears.
He said he was then struck in the face and stomach “multiple times” by the constable which was followed by attempts to restrain him with a taser gun as another constable observed. The account then indicates that Bennett was handcuffed and placed in the police vehicle on his stomach while one officer entered the back seat of the vehicle and placed his knee on Bennett’s back.
“Constable **** then proceeded to reach for a black baton and placed it on our client’s throat bending back his head. It must be noted that our client was still lying on his belly. Our client continued to indicate to the officer that he couldn’t breathe, once again to no avail. Our client at this stage was gasping for air when the baton was removed from his neck,” the letter informed.
On arrival at the District A Police Station, the situation went from bad to worse when Bennett was allegedly placed on the floor in the bathroom at the facility.
“Constable **** then proceeded to kick our client in the stomach several times while he was on the floor and still handcuffed. It is our instruction that an officer by the name of Crichlow then came into the said bathroom and told Constable ******, “why wanna don’t take him to the hospital?” the statement further alleged.
At the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH), Bennett underwent medical treatment that included a CAT Scan and X RAYS along with prescribed medication for “excruciating pain” from his head and stomach. Further examinations revealed that the alleged victim was passing blood through his urine. Burdened with the pain of a swollen face and a swollen throat, Bennett’s attorney claimed he was unable to eat for three days. He also allegedly was nursing cuts to his chest and back.
“The above treatment towards our client by officers of your force was unwarranted, inhumane and degrading to which no human being should have to endure especially when he was not resisting arrest and innocent until proven guilty by virtue of the Constitution of Barbados. This kind of belligerent behaviour by police officers must not be condoned unless it is necessary to use reasonable force but in these circumstances, such force was not reasonable in this regard,” Brathwaite informed Commissioner Griffith.
“Our client continued to experience excruciating pain throughout his stay at Hastings Police Station despite the painkillers (Voltaren) he was prescribed by Dr Murray of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Please note that our client was in good physical health before he was approached by officers of the Royal Barbados Police Force,” she further pointed out.
Bennett was reportedly moved from District A Station to Hastings Police Station after receiving medical attention.
Efforts to reach Commissioner Griffith and the Attorney General Marshall were unsuccessful. [email protected]