The police ranks who have been accused of sexually brutalizing a man three weeks ago to the point where he still remains hospitalized, are to be transferred as police conduct a probe, according to Police Commissioner Leroy Brumell.
The injured man, Colwyn Harding, through his attorney Nigel Hughes is now asking for $100M in compensation.
“Some changes will be made at the (Timehri) Station”, Brumell said when contacted by Stabroek News this morning. Brumell recalled that in December a woman later identified as the mother of the man made contact with him and he immediately handed over the matter to acting `A’ Division Commander George Vyphuis. He said that he is uncertain how far that investigation would have gone but he has since taken over the matter and has instructed the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) to investigate.
The Commissioner explained that he is hearing a particular name but other ranks have since been implicated. He expressed the view that in light of the allegation, the entire station should be transferred but based on what he said only those whose names have been called as being participants are being moved at this point.
Based on what Brumell said the Force at this point doesn’t believe that the interdiction of the ranks is necessary as it is preferred that the investigation be first completed.
He said that in the meantime, detectives are keeping abreast with the man’s condition.
Harding has said that he was sodomized by a policeman with a police baton which damaged his intestines. He said he was also kept for three days at the Timehri police station before finally being taken for medical treatment.
“Would you believe that the said officer who violently sodomized him was assigned the task to take him to the hospital? The officer subsequently drove the victim to a rum shop, leaving him in the vehicle while the officer imbibed and then took later took him back to the station without taking him to the hospital, and upon his return, he was again beaten into a semi-unconscious state by said officer,” Hughes said.
He added that he was told that all the events were done with the full knowledge of senior officers on duty.
Hughes in a Facebook post yesterday said that on Monday the case against the 23 year old man was called at the Providence Magistrate’s court. The charges are assaulting a peace officer and disorderly conduct. He was placed on bail in the sum of $50,000 for the offences since the 18th November 2013.
According to the attorney the man’s family was unable to raise the bail. “Yesterday his bail conditions were reviewed on our application and he is now admitted to bail on his own recognizance. He however remains in custody as the Court has not provided the prisons with a copy of the Magistrate’s order facilitating his release”, Hughes said.
He said that a demand for the institution of criminal charges and compensation in the sum of $100M was delivered to the Commissioner of Police by the victim’s lawyers on Monday. “The victim’s defense team have commenced their own independent investigation with a view to filing private criminal charges in the event that the Police fail to institute any criminal charges by next week Wednesday”, Hughes said.
Hughes has since received a statement from a 17 year old in which he said he was an eyewitness to the beating of Harding. The teen who is now an inmate of the Camp Street Prisons was held at the Timehri Police Station during the same period that Harding was there.