(Trinidad Guardian) An elderly couple of Mason Hall, Tobago, say they have been left traumatised following an early morning ordeal with police officers of the Tobago Task Force.
Eucklyn Chapman, 64, and her husband, Cecil, 69, of Croton Lane, said people dressed as police officers showed up at their residence around 4 am yesterday and requested entry, but when they protested and asked for the search warrant, the officers broke down their front door valued $2,200 and gained access.
The couple who both suffer from hypertension said only one police officer out of a party of five made an effort to show them his police identification card, while the search warrant was only shown to them after they forcibly entered the premises, only to realise that the individual did not live in that area of the house.
“As I was in my bed I heard the ruction and so on and the dog getting on and I recognised that my wife came out, so I eventually got up and walked out and to my great surprise, as I stepped down there I heard they kick in the door, so I actually froze.
“They kicked on the door and just smashed it in with me standing right there. The officers then came in and I asked them ‘what’s this all about and do you have a warrant?’ He then showed me a paper and as I was about to hold it to look at it the officer said no that I couldn’t touch it… I was able to make out the name and the address and I told them the person whom they were looking for doesn’t live here, he eventually asked ‘where does he live?’ And I said he lives downstairs….I almost fainted right there and I later had to take medication cause my blood pressure went sky high,” Chapman said.
The couple said they were law-abiding citizens, the person the police was looking for was, in fact, their grandson who is known to the police and who lives in a separate dwelling area downstairs the house with his parents. Chapman said the entire ordeal could have been avoided if the officers had shown them some form of identification
“When they gave the first kick, the door stood up and then they gave it a few more kicks and then the glass and wood and everything went flying…All we are saying, give us your proper ID and the door will be opened, read the warrant to us so we will know what it is. Had he read the warrant before entering, we would have been able to tell him up front that person doesn’t live here…It was for my grandson, but he doesn’t live here, they live downstairs and their entrance is down there,” she said.
She also said a sniffer dog was brought into the house to search for dangerous drugs, but none was found. However, she claimed the dog urinated on her couch.
The Chapmans said they have reported the incident to the police, but were scolded about “stall tactics”. They also intend to report the incident to the Police Complaints Authority.
Senior Supt: Comply with officers performing their duties
Contacted for a comment on the incident, Acting Senior Superintendent Jeffrey George confirmed that his officers executed a dangerous drug search warrant at the home of the Chapmans after receiving intelligence and following the completion of several hours of surveillance which indicated that criminal activity was taking place at the property. He said it was confirmed that the person named in the warrant lived on the premises, but having knocked and called out police, the individuals refused entry. He is calling on citizens to comply with members of the Police Service while performing their duties.