Naked in the lock­ups: Frus­trated mother of five be­moans po­lice bru­tal­ity

Stabroek News Sunday - - WEEK­END MAG­A­ZINE -

good? He use to beat me bad. He chop me up all in me head; it was bear licks. Me couldn’t tek it no mo and me went back by me mother with me chil­dren and he never use to mine dem chil­dren. When I sum­mons he you know what he do? He went away to Suri­name and me never hear back from he,” she shared.

“Right now is me alone. Me nah get no brother, noth­ing. Me mother live in de is­land but she can’t re­ally help me be­cause me sis­ter, me only sis­ter, sick and me mother does have nuff, nuff bills. I live in me mother house, but a still gaffo pay light bill and wa­ter bill and it hard pun me. I use to get pub­lic as­sis­tance but since me get dem two last chil­dren dem say how me gat man now so me can’t get no help. He don’t live with me. He does just visit, be­cause he and dem big girls don’t get a long and me chil­dren dem come first,” she con­tin­ued.

“Mom, leh me tell you some­thing some­times I does feel so frus­trated that I could just drink poi­son. Mom you must call me back and talk to me. Right now me just want peo­ple to call me and talk to me. And mom, if any­thing wrong with me you must come and mek sure me chil­dren dem get put in a or­phan­age be­cause me nah want dem live on the street,” she said, break­ing down at this point into un­con­trol­lable sobs.

I felt help­less, but I promised to call her; a prom­ise I in­tend to keep.

I got the im­pres­sion that she wanted the con­ver­sa­tion to con­tinue but I was so over­whelmed at that point I wanted it to end.

“Okay mom, I know you have to go but call me back right? You must call me…,” she pleaded through sobs.

Like the many women I en­counter fre­quently I could not help but won­der what will be­come of Harry and her chil­dren as her sit­u­a­tion sounded so des­per­ate. There must be some sys­tem in place to as­sist strug­gling fam­i­lies like hers.

I have been in­formed that the po­lice have since launched an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into this in­ci­dent. Harry said two of­fi­cers, who said they were from New Am­s­ter­dam, vis­ited her home and took a state­ment from her, in­form­ing that they are in­ves­ti­gat­ing.

I was also in­formed that the po­lice’s Stan­dard Op­er­a­tion Pro­ce­dure as it re­lates to per­sons in cus­tody with sui­ci­dal ten­den­cies is for ranks to re­move all of their cloth­ing. This should not be. How can the po­lice re­move the cloth­ing of a woman (or man) and leave that per­son in a germ-in­fested cell? This is just not right. What about (as sug­gested by Chan­dra So­han who had at­tempted to in­ter­vene on the woman’s be­half) hand­cuff­ing her hands to­gether or to a chair or any other ob­ject?

The an­swer can­not lie in what tran­spired dur­ing last Mon­day at the Rose Hall Po­lice Out­post.

Po­lice ranks’ treat­ment of women over the last few days leaves much to be de­sired, to say the least.

Sandy Akra of West­min­ster, West Bank De­mer­ara, last week com­plained of po­lice con­tin­ued ha­rass­ment and shared how she was strip searched in the pres­ence of male of­fi­cers and her two sons at her home. An­other woman in Al­boys­town re­cently re­ported be­ing strip searched even though she had in­formed the po­lice that she was in the mid­dle of her men­strual cy­cle.

And these acts cer­tainly do not mesh with the touted po­lice re­form by the Cit­i­zens’ Se­cu­rity Strength­en­ing Pro­gramme (CSSP).

Such acts can­not be con­doned by any right think­ing so­ci­ety and the ranks who per­pe­trated them must be held ac­count­able.

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