Corentyne police accused of beating woman, son over alleged theft

—taxi driver also reportedly assaulted; suffered broken ribs

An investigation has been launched after a Corentyne woman accused ranks attached to the Number 51 Police Station of beating her and her son on Tuesday.

This was following an allegation of theft that was levelled against the boy, reportedly by the driver of a taxi that he had travelled in with his mother, on the way to the Skeldon Public Hospital.

Yesterday, the woman, Thakurdi Jagnanand, 54, of Lot 73 Number 52 Village, Corentyne, visited the New Amsterdam Police Station, where Deputy Commander of B Division, Wayne Dehearte, escorted her to the Police Complaints Authority located below his office, to file a report.

In an invited comment, Dehearte confirmed to Stabroek News that as of yesterday, statements had been taken from two persons who had made an allegation against police ranks. “They allegedly assaulted a mother and son and it stemmed from a cell phone theft and at present we are investigating the matter,” he noted.

The Deputy Comman-der stressed that if ranks are found culpable, action will be taken against them.

Jagnanand’s case was one of two matters reported to Stabroek News yesterday, alleging assault meted out by Corentyne police to civilians. The second matter regards a taxi driver who suffered broken ribs after being allegedly beaten by police when he refused to allow them to administer what he said appeared to be an old breathalyser test. That matter has also been taken to the Police Complaints Authority.

Encounter with Number 51 Village police

Jagnanand explained that on Tuesday morning at around 9 am, she and her son, 15, boarded a car en-route to the Skeldon Public Hospital.

The woman related that her sickly son has been experiencing major head problems, and as such, she took him to the hospital, where a doctor recommended that he undergo a CT scan. “He give me the paper what to do but me have to do it privately so we come home back,” she recounted.

Around 5.30 pm on Tuesday, two males dressed in plain clothes visited her home and ordered her to accompany them to the Number 51 Police Station. “Me didn’t know if them a police. I didn’t want go in them car but them refuse and them say abie two got to go,” Jagnanand reported.

At the station, the woman was told that her son allegedly picked up a phone belonging to the driver of the car in which they had travelled earlier that morning. “Me son say he na pick up nobody phone, he get he own phone,” she complained.

However, the treatment meted out to the woman in the next few hours by ranks who took an oath to protect and serve surprised her, she said.

In tears, she related to this newspaper that the police started to ridicule both her and her son. “Them say me son a play drama because me tell them na harass this boy, that he sickly,” she said.

Filled with expletives, the investigators then reportedly began to question the lad about the location of the supposed missing phone. “Me keep telling them that nobody na none thiefman. Me been a sit a front seat and the driver that lost he phone say he had the phone on the backseat and me son pick it up…How he go drive in front and get he phone on the backseat?”, the woman questioned.

`He lash me this side first and then he lash me the other side’

Jagnanand reported that at around 7 pm, the police took her son aback the station in a room but when he returned, he was shaking and tears were running from his eyes. “But he tell me then that he alright, let me na worry…later, he tell me them lash he behind he neck back and me tell them me son get head problem”.

The woman further related that when they took her son to the other room, “Them get me stand up and brace the wall and two male police, them tell me fa brace with strength and then he fire lash and me start holla. He lash me this side first and then he lash me the other side”, the woman said, as she broke into tears.

After composing herself, she recalled, “Me turn round and ask, ‘Why ayo a lash me for that? Me na thief nobody phone,’ and then he lash me in me knee.” She said that all this happened while the policeman was cursing at her and questioning where the phone was.

The woman said that she was beaten with a wooden baton.

She reported to this newspaper that while all this was happening, the station sergeant was just upstairs. Jagnanand said that when she began hollering, he came out, picked up his phone, and left.

The woman further recalled that after the police brought her son from the back, he blacked out. “One hour them get this boy lay down from the bench, he a blackout and me a cry and beg them to take he to the hospital and them refuse,” she reported.

“Me a take a water and wash he face and he a tell me, ‘Mommy, mommy me alright; a me head, a me head’”, she stated, noting that her son was going in and out of consciousness at the time.

The woman said that the police made her sign two places on a paper unknown to her and while her son was unconscious, they allegedly took his thumbprint on another paper.

Meanwhile, the woman also alleged that $103,000 was stolen from her bag. “Me had the money to clean me husband eye and after me son sick, me say me go use the money to do he test them,” she stated.

“He (police) wear a dye shirt and he ask me for my bag to check and when he go in, he take out me money and when me come out he na gimme back me mommy. Me see he take out my money”, she insisted. “When me ask he for me money he say he na get no (expletive) money to give me,” Jagnanand recounted.

After being told by the police officer that she could leave, the woman immediately rushed her son to the hospital.

A document to retrieve a medical was only given to the woman at the New Amsterdam Police Station yesterday midday. “Me come a Whim (Police Station) since morning 8 and them tell me the OC (Officer-in-Charge) not here and me got to wait outside underneath the shed and them go call me when he come and around 12 me couldn’t bear the pain no more so me decide to go New Amsterdam. We na even had money, me daughter had to pay me passage”, she said.

Stabroek News confirmed from reliable sources that the Officer-in-Charge of Sub Division 2, Boodnarine Persaud, was present in his office at the time and that it was his secretary who told the woman to wait downstairs.

Following the visit to the hospital yesterday, Jagnanand visited the New Amsterdam Police Station, where she met with Deputy Commander of B Division,  Dehearte, and was taken to the Police Complaints Authority to report the matter.

Further allegations

Meanwhile, Baldeo Budhram, 33, of Corriverton, yesterday claimed that he was assaulted by ranks on a patrol attached to the Springlands Police Station early last month.

The hire car driver explained that he was returning home, when some 20 feet away from his destination, he heard the police siren behind him. “Me pull down and them stop side of me and ask me to step out the vehicle. Them ask if me drink and me tell them no,” Budhram related.

The ranks then reportedly started to search his car, after which one officer allegedly began choking him and cursing at him, demanding that he shut his mouth until he reached the police station.

The man said that when he arrived at the Springlands Police Station, the ranks began to force him to blow on what appeared to be an old breathalyser.  “Me tell them a know me rights, a got to get a new one. He demonstrate on the machine and me tell he [I] won’t do it,” the man recalled.

“Them tell me to go lock up me vehicle that me get nuff rights and them cuss me and me cuss them back and them attack me and them slap me and cuff me in me face. One take one gun and lash me behind me head and me fall down and them start kick me,” he claimed.

The man said that he was placed into the cell until morning, when the police took him to the Skeldon Public Hospital. “Doctor inject me for pain and give me one paper to go back 8 o’clock to do x-ray but them na loose me”.

However, the man was released at 4 pm the next day on his own recognizance. “Them tell me go back next day. Me go and them na do nothing. Me go an tell police Foo that me suppose to go take one x-ray, he say he didn’t know that and he tell me to go right away,” Jagnanand said.

Upon arriving at the Skeldon Public Hospital, the man was reportedly told that the x-ray machine was not working, after which time he ventured to the New Amsterdam Public Hospital, where he was told that the x-ray could not be done, since they only had small film at that hospital.

The man then went to a private hospital on the Corentyne, where an x-ray confirmed that he had broken ribs among other injuries. “Me couldn’t afford fa let them doctor read the x-ray, so me take it back to Skeldon Hospital and the same doctor read it and say me ribs break. He treat me and tell me six weeks’ bed rest and then let me go back”, he related. 

Meanwhile, the man was only able to obtain a document to have a medical done at the Whim Police Station, where he met with the Officer-in-Charge of Subdivision 2, Persaud, who reportedly claimed that the commander was informed of the matter.

The police, since the incident, have not filed any charges against the man. However, a complaint was made against the officers to the Police Complaints Authority in New Amsterdam, where an investigation is presently underway.

Nevertheless, the Corentyne man is pleading with the higher authorities to launch an investigation into the matter. “Me ain’t know who really to go to and where to report but me want justice. I don’t want to settle no matter. I want the police to be held and charge”, he insisted.

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