Cops allege brutality by colleagues

By Daniel DaCosta
Stabroek News
August 15, 1999

Two members of the Guyana Police Force have lodged official complaints against five of their colleagues, whom they have accused of brutality.

The reports were made at the Fort Wellington Police Station, West Coast Berbice. The two ranks who hail from the West Berbice have submitted written statements outlining acts of brutality committed on them by five members of the Quick Reaction Group commonly referred to as 'Black Clothes policemen', stationed at Fort Wellington. A senior police source in Berbice has disclosed that the report is being investigated at the highest level of the force.

One of the policemen who was allegedly brutalised is stationed at the Anna Regina Police Station and is attached to the Anti-Crime Prevention Unit at that location. The other is a member of the Tactical Services Unit (TSU) at Eve Leary, Kingston, Georgetown.

The incident which occurred during the early morning hours of August 1, 1999 at Hopetown Village, was sparked by an altercation between one of the two ranks and a female police rank who was on duty at an Emancipation soiree in the village.

Reports reaching Stabroek News stated that the two apparently had a relationship which had turned sour resulting in the quarrel. It was reported that shortly after the intervention of a male rank from Fort Wellington Police Station on behalf of the female rank, the 'Black Clothes' squad was summoned.

According to one of the policemen, before he could have identified himself as a member of the force, he was hit on the head with the butt of a self-loading rifle by a member of the squad. The policeman claimed that he was beaten and thrown into a vehicle after being told that an inspector wanted to see him at Fort Wellington. In his statement, the constable said another policeman who is a member of the TSU was also beaten by the squad and thrown into the vehicle where they were exposed to further brutality.

At the station, the detective said, he was told by the inspector that he was going to write a strong report against them. The two were then placed on 'open arrest' pending investigations.

The TSU member who also hails from Number 29 Village, related a similar story in his statement. He claimed that the constable who intervened in the argument between his detective colleague and the uniformed female rank had a Taurus revolver drawn. According to the TSU member, a large crowd suddenly began running and screaming and he saw his colleague being beaten by the squad. Despite repeated shouts from the crowd and himself that the man was a member of the force, the beating continued, he said.

The policeman related how he too was beaten by the squad even though he had informed them that he was a member of the force. He also reported being thrown into a vehicle where he and his colleague were again beaten and taken to the Fort Wellington Police Station. He said a large crowd had blocked the road protesting the beating and attempting to prevent the arrest. However, they were forced to disperse when the squad fired shots in the air, he said. Several eye-witnesses corroborated the reports of the policemen to Stabroek News and have called for a high level investigation. According to a police source the investigation has already begun.

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