The police force is facing another accusation of brutality by a miner, who is calling for justice for the beatings he says he endured at the hands of cops at Imbamadai, in Region Seven, during questioning about missing gold mats.
Wilton Tafares is alleging that he sustained injuries when he was beaten about the body by a constable attached to the police station in his mining district. He is now calling on the acting Police Commissioner Leroy Brumell to investigate the matter and make Imbamadai a community where persons are not afraid of police violence.
Tafares, who visited Stabroek News’ offices yesterday, has his left ankle strapped andsaid that doctors at the Georgetown Hospital told him that he had sustained a sprain.
He recounted that he left his camp around 3 am on Wednesday to travel to his worksite to check on the gold box, about 2,000 feet away. He said that after “peeping the box,” he traveled down to the landing.
Between 7 and 7:30 am, he said, he returned to the worksite, which is located in the backdam, and discovered that two gold mats were missing. As a result, he immediately reported the matter to the owner of the claim and he was advised to go to the warden and then the police.
Tafares said that he and a fellow worker went back to the gold box and were able to trace a footprint which was heading in the direction of a campsite. Thereafter, he added, they returned to the landing and learnt that the police were looking for them.
Other workmen, who were travelling out of the backdam, had related to the others that the mats were missing.
According to Tafares, at the station the police constable (name given) questioned him about who was in charge of the box and he explained that he was the one in charge of watching the box and when he last checked the mats were still there. He said that after taking his name and particulars, the rank placed him in the lock-ups. After about half an hour, he recalled, the rank took him out and began questioning him again. He said he told the rank about the footprint but neither he nor any of the other ranks acted on this information.
Tafares is alleged that the rank began slapping him before using a police baton to inflict blows about his body. He said that after some time, a senior rank began to caution the constable but the police was adamant that Tafares knew something and wanted him to admit it.
After being at the station for hours, he was told to return home and return to the station in the morning (yesterday). He said that he never did, explaining that after seeing the medex in the area, he travelled to Georgetown, where he sought medical attention at the hospital.
Tafares’ allegations came on the same day that police charged one of their own with four counts of assault, stemming from an encounter with miners along a trail at Marudi Mountain, in Region Nine. An investigation had been launched into the case after a video of the beatings was circulated online.