A Mon Repos, East Coast Demerara family is now traumatized after several of its members were injured after the police allegedly barged into their premises and forcibly shut down a party during a row over music on Sunday morning.
Krishna Ralph, owner of Krishna Ralph Establishment, a mechanic workshop situated at Lot 113 Block CC, Mon Repos, ECD yesterday told Stabroek News that he held a Christmas party on Saturday evening for his employees at his premises.
However, he retired to bed early since he is unwell and does not consume alcohol leaving his wife, children and other relatives to celebrate with the employees.
At around 1.20am on Sunday, his daughter, Pratima Ralph explained that a group of men including her brother Deodat Ralph, brother-in-law Deokumar Inderjit, cousin Gautam Bissoon and the disc jockey (DJ), one of the employees who is known as ‘Boy’, were standing outside the premises to see a guest off, when a vehicle loaded with police officers passed and ordered them to either take off the music or lower the volume.
“The police pass and they told them, ‘you either take it off or you lower it down’ but it wasn’t really loud. So the boys them say that you know wah is late so they gun take it off. Them (police) seh alright. The system was at the back (of the yard) so by time they walk from the road to go in there, the police go and they come back. They come in (the yard) with one speed, so I was by the gate because the gate was open so I was going to lock it. So when I see them (police) stop I couldn’t lock the gate on them,” Pratima related.
She said that three police officers; two of whom were dressed in uniform and one plain clothes rank exited the vehicle and barged into the yard.
She said the two uniformed ranks were armed. The driver remained seated in the vehicle. “They walk in straight to the back and they tell my cousin (Bissoon) and the DJ (‘Boy’) to take it (the music) off and my cousin was like ‘we taking it off, we taking it off’ and it did already cut off right,” Pratima said.
She further explained that the plain clothes rank then began to disconnect the wires for the music system. “They (the police) start pulling out the wire from the laptop so my cousin (Bissoon) tell them ‘we co-operating, we taking it off’ and they grab it so my cousin hold onto the laptop cause if we take it off and listening to them why they taking it off,” she said.
At this point she said, the men and police were involved in a scuffle.
“So after them boys hold on, like they hold onto the laptop, they (police) start pushing them boys in them face, pushing them, pushing them and then my brother (Deodat) touching them (police), like touching them on their shoulders saying ‘man we could talk about this normal’ and they start pushing and they start fighting up and the scuffle start with all of them and they start scuffling,” Pratima recalled.
She said the police officer with the loaded gun, cranked the said gun and allegedly started to gun butt her relatives.
At this point, Pratima said her mother, Vijaianti Ralph intervened and try to part the men but she too was hit about her body. “..Because they were hitting him (Bissoon) with the gun and they start hitting her (Vijaianti) with the gun and after the ordinary clothes one see she (Vijaianti) is getting it and not him (Bissoon), he grabbed her and pushed her into one of the machines,” Pratima said.
However, despite this she said Vijaianti still held onto Bissoon. “She (Vijaianti) still hold onto my cousin (Bissoon), trying to break them up, trying to hold onto them so they wouldn’t get beat up and he (police) grabbed her and pushed her and she fall,”, she added.
She said that when a relative attempted to pick Vijaianti up, one of the officers grabbed onto him and two shots were fired.
However, Pratima said while the police are claiming that the gun accidentally went off during the scuffle, this is not the case. “Not one time did that gun fall and not one time did he (police) fall because if that gun had fall it woulda shoot like bottom right. It’s like waist length the gunshot hole is on one of the tool press,”, she said.
After the incident escalated, Inderjit rushed into the house to wake up Krishna. “Because they (the police) start shooting up and the kids (Krishna grandchildren) were around and that’s when all of them hold onto my brother (Deodat). They vice him and they start dragging him. Buss up his mouth, drag him out of the yard. Vice him and drag him,” Pratima said.
After Deodat fell on the roadway, they loosed him and held onto Bissoon and placed him into the police vehicle. “But by time that daddy (Krishna) reach outside. Daddy didn’t know wah going on, so he turn and ask them, ‘why you taking him (Bissoon)?, wah going on?, like wah really going on?, what did he do?’ and they didn’t answer they just drive away,” she added.
“The police in this country really operate unprofessional. These guys them were so drunk. I said to them yall have the right to breathalyse civilians out there but who is going to breathalyse yall guys,” Krishna said
Pratima said when Inderjit and ‘Boy’ went to the Beterverwagting Police Station to check on Bissoon, they too were arrested.
As a result, neighbours and Krishna subsequently went to the station to check on the men but they were sent away. “They (police) said later in the morning (Sunday), they will discuss that, the whole situation,” Pratima said.
“…But before daddy come back, two police came back and they said that they came to do investigation. They come and they ask for the live rounds but we told them we don’t know anything about that. The shots were there, we didn’t know. So the shot was on the ground, they find it and they left. They said they coming to do investigation and that’s all they asking for,” Pratima explained.
She said minutes after, they received a call from a female who asked to inform Krishna that the men were placed on bail. “So I asked her, why? How come they got bail because they said later in the morning they will discuss that? She didn’t say anything, she cut off the phone,” Pratima related.
When Krishna went to post bail for the men he too was arrested. When he enquired for what, he was told illegal possession of ammunition. He was held and released at 3 pm on Sunday. “They (police) get on bad. When me go the station, they could’ve hardly manage themselves, they were all under the influence,” Krishna charged.
He alleged that prior to the incident, the police were imbibing at a shop in his street.
Divisional Commander Calvin Brutus and a team of police visited the family on Sunday afternoon.
They were told that the matter is being investigated and will be sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) for legal advice on the way forward.
It remains unclear, if any actions has yet been taken against the ranks involved in the incident.
Krishna said his grandchildren whose ages range from 5 to 3 are traumatized. They don’t even want to visit his house again.
“It was uncalled for. We are traumatized. Like last night (Monday) we lock up, 8 o’ clock we done lock up cause like you scared. And the kids yesterday (Monday) was Christmas and they didn’t want to come here. Normally every year I would put the gifts under the tree for them so when they come they would get their gifts, they didn’t want to come. Last night fireworks went off, they start screaming, the start crying they were like ‘gun, gun’ and the big one, the Sunday morning, later that morning when she woke up she ask her mom, ‘mom why they taking Aja (Krishna), they gonna keep Aja for long, long years in the lock up? Why they beat daddy with the gun,” Pratima explained.