24-year-old woman wants justice after police assault

A 24-year-old woman of Better Hope, East Coast Demerara (ECD) is calling for justice after she was reportedly inflicted with several lashes across her body at the hands of police officers at the Sparendaam Police Station.

Sarah Baker told this news agency that her brother was escorted to the Sparendaam Police Station on Thursday evening following an altercation between him and his girlfriend. At about 22:00h, Baker reportedly visited the police station to enquire about her brother when she was told to return in ten minutes; during this time, she chose to return home and close the family’s business which is the Benab Bar operating from their residence. Upon return, the woman said she was told that her brother is being placed on $15,000 bail which prompted her to ask about the charge.

“When I asked the money was for what, it became a whole story. Then a CID officer who visited our home earlier told me to sit on the bench and I asked why because I was not under arrest. He turned and told me ‘well get yuh lil stinking mother s@#*t out of the station,” she explained.

Baker admitted that she responded to the police officer in the same manner after which an officer sitting at his desk allegedly ran and “choke” her. The incident caused her husband who was not too far away, to attempt to defend her but the said officer was joined by a female rank who placed a handcuff on the woman’s wrist.

“How she put the handcuff so tight, it cut my wrist and put my husband out of the station,” according to the woman. She further explained that as her husband was on the road relaying the ordeal to two persons whom he met, the police tackled him, kicked him to his face and caused him to lose one of his tooth before hitting him with a gun to his head. They then took him into the police station where he was placed in the lockups.

Almost midnight on Thursday, Baker was transferred to the Beterverwagting Police Station but not before she reportedly suffered another bout of beating from the police.

“As soon as I came down the station steps, one of the officers slapped me and another one cuffed me…then the female rank held onto the chain from the handcuffs and pulled me to the vehicle. After some struggle, I got into the vehicle. When I got into the vehicle, the female officer took a baton and gave me one lash to my left side shoulder and then the male on the other side cuffing me to my belly.

“Also when I was in the station, they told all the other officers and the prisoners that I was a prostitute and how no one paid me for the night so I am upset and that I am on drugs, they were having a ball,” she told Big Smith News Watch. She added that the police are in possession of a video with her but it seems to have been edited since it does not include parts with her being assaulted or asking pertinent questions.

The 24-year-old was transported to the Beterverwagting Police Station where she was kept until Friday afternoon before she was escorted to the Georgetown Police Station for a medical.

“I asking since the night to take me to the hospital and in the morning, I asked the station Sergeant to get someone to take me but they refused. My mother contacted the Police Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) and that is when I got to go to the hospital,” Baker related.

However, it was too late to acquire a full medical from the GPHC and Baker was taken back to the Sparendaam Police station where she was reportedly placed on $5,000 bail for assaulting a police officer. Her husband and brother were also placed on $5,000 bail each.

A medical has since been acquired from the Diamond Hospital which stated that there are severe soft tissue injuries to the right shoulder, right forearm, right thigh and lower back and visible signs of trauma consistent with blunt force trauma. It was further noted that the injuries will cause temporary disability to the right arm.

BIG Smith News Watch contacted a senior police officer in the Division who related that police ranks were also injured during the ordeal and have visible marks of violence. According to the officer, the OPR has completed a file that was sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) office for advice.