Cops were no-show after call for help, rights activist says 

Ranks stationed at the La Grange Police Station are being accused of neglect of duty by human rights activist Akola Thompson, who says that her calls for help after a drunken ex-spouse showed up at her house and began harassing her went unanswered.

Attempts to contact Divisional Commander Leslie James, under whose purview the La Grange Police Station falls, for a comment on the case were unsuccessful.

But Thompson told Stabroek News that her former partner, with whom she shares a child, returned their daughter to her around 2.30 pm on Sunday after she spent the weekend with him.

She noted that the man failed to bring their daughter’s school supplies, which she had with her during her stay at his house. Thompson said she, therefore, asked him to return the items as they were needed for school the next day.

The young woman explained that she began receiving calls from the man just after 6.30 pm that evening. She assumed that because he was expected to return their daughter’s belongings, he was trying to get on to her but later realised that he was drunk.

“I had missed the initial calls as I was away from my phone. Given that he was yet to return my daughter’s school supplies, I assumed that was his reason for calling. When I called back, I answered and after a few moments I realised he was drunk.  He wanted to come over and I made it clear several times that he was not to come over if he did not have her stuff in his possession. He asked me, ‘So, what you gonna do if I ain’t bring them?’ I made it clear again that I needed her things for her to go to school and that he should not come by the house if he was not bringing the school supplies and I cut off my phone,” she shared.

However, the harassment did not end there as the man allegedly continued to call her. Thompson noted that about an hour after she finally decided to answer and I was told by the man that he was close by.

She said after she inquired whether he had their daughter’s stuff in his possession, the man said yes and she ended the call.

“I sensed I might be in danger but I still wanted to get my child’s belongings. So, I picked up a scissors, pushed it in my back pocket and went outside to meet him. He ambled up the stairs and I asked him where the bag was. He handed over a bag to me and on close inspection, I realised it was his bag and that he had not brought anything. I quickly went inside and locked my door and asked him to leave since he had no reason to be there,” the young woman, who has spoken openly in the past about the abuse she endured at the hands of the same man, added.

She recounted that the man began banging on the door and even tried to convince their daughter to open it.

At that point, the young woman said she told the man that she was going to call the police in hopes of him leaving, however, her threats did not deter him as they were met with threats of his own.

This prompted her to call the police, to whom she gave details of what was happening.

“The female officer asked whether he and I weren’t living together. I told her no. We had hardly had contact for five years and I failed to see what that had anything to do with it. She collected my number and told me that the police were on their way,” she shared.

However, Stabroek News was told that the man’s shouting and pounding on the door continued with threats of violence interspersed. After about an hour or so, Thompson said the man gave up and left her premises just after making one last threat.

However, as of yesterday afternoon, almost an entire day after Thompson contacted the police on the matter, the police were yet to arrive at her house or call to follow up the matter.

“The response I received is a response many women face every day where life or death situations are treated as love spats that will dissipate. This kind of approach has no place in the police force that has a duty to serve and protect. I know of the limitations the police force face—I am very aware of them—but those should not serve as an excuse with the way in which too many of their officers treat cases of sexual and gender based violence as if it was a mere blip on their radar. I was lucky, but there are countless women who lose their lives or become seriously injured and mutilated when the police fail to turn up after they are called,” she said.

Thompson has since indicated that her next step will be to lodge a complaint at the Police Complaints Authority regarding the manner in which the police handled the situation.

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