12 Cops in hot water

...charged with burning suspect in police station

(Trinidad Express) The 12 police officers allegedly involved in pouring hot water on a detained suspect at Sangre Grande Police Station in late February, and arrested by officers of the Professional Standards Bureau, last Sunday were charged last night following instructions issued by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), according to reliable police sources.

The Professional Standards Bureau is charged with the responsibility of investigating allegations of misconduct against officers in the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service.

Among the officers charged are an acting inspector, a sergeant, an SRP sergeant, three acting corporals and six constables (including one WPC).

Some of the charges the officers allegedly involved in the incident could face include occasioning actual bodily harm, beating by assault, misbehaviour in public office, and perverting the course of justice.

The story was exclusively reported by CCN TV6 and the Express two days after the incident occurred.

The majority of the police officers charged were held at Sangre Grande Police Station, while others were arrested at their homes in Sangre Grande, Biche and Rio Claro.

One police officer was found hiding in the ceiling of the dormitory at Mayaro Police Station.

The arrests stemmed from an incident involving Andrew Lewis, the victim, from Boystown, Sangre Grande, who gave himself up to police at the Sangre Grande station on February 25 for questioning in a house-breaking and larceny matter.

Present during his interrogation were an acting inspector, an acting corporal, two police constables and a woman constable.

The Express was told Lewis refused to budge when questioned about the alleged crime involving the theft of a weed whacker.

Certain police officers then allegedly stripped Lewis naked, heated a bowl of water in the microwave oven and then threw the boiling water on his lower extremities and stomach.

Sources say Lewis’s injury may have been aggravated by something he had on his body—a small piece of metal inserted in the foreskin of his penis known as a domino, a sex enhancement device.

The metal melted with the heat, causing further injury.

Following that, the five officers who were allegedly involved in the actual incident were transferred out of the station to remote police stations in Toco, Manzanilla and Mayar­o.

However, senior police sources reliably informed the Express the Professional Standards Bureau threw a wider net during their investigations, and discovered that immediately after the incident several other officers who had knowledge of it refused to report the matter.

Sources say this included an acting corporal who spoke with Lewis in the holding cell mere minutes after the incident occurred, but he refused to report the matter, even as Lewis implored his intervention.

The police officers are expected to appear before a Sangre Grande magistrate on Tuesday.

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