US citizen beaten, robbed during J’ouvert celebrations in Trinidad

The injuries the teenager said she suffered

(Trinidad Express) A US citizen was stabbed, robbed and beaten during J’ouvert celebrations in San Fernando on Monday, and her mother is claiming that police did not do enough to apprehend the criminals.

Tionne Atwell, 19, of San Diego, was stabbed in the hand during the attack at Independence Avenue.

Atwell’s mother, Desiree Baird, said her daughter was attacked on two occasions that morning and police officers stationed nearby did not apprehend the criminals.

Baird said her daughter, a personnel specialist with the US Navy, is in Trinidad for Carnival celebrations.

She said the first attack occurred around 8.45 a.m., when a crowd of about five people pounced on her.

They walked to the San Fernando Police Station and reported that incident.

Police officers accompanied Baird and Atwell on the streets and found the suspects.

“We had to find the girls in the band and the police warned them. But in five minutes after the police left, a whole group of them came down on us. We heard someone say, ‘let we go for them now’. It was like an avalanche. A whole group of about 20 of them ran at us, started to cuss and fight”, said Baird.

She said her daughter’s handbag containing cash and valuables was stolen.

Baird said there were officers – a male and female officer – stationed nearby at the corner of Lewis Street who would have witnessed the incident.

“They did nothing”, she said. “I am upset about the police response. There are a few that tried to help. But the ones stationed on the road who could have held the people one time but they did not”.

The second incident was also reported to police, but no one was arrested.

Baird said that she intends to report the officers to the Police Complaints Authority.

Atwell was treated at the San Fernando General Hospital for a stab to the hand, and abrasions to the knees, arms and back.

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