The Star (Jamaica)

Public defender offers legal advice to vendor in police fracas


Public Defender Arlene Harrison Henry is urging the market vendor who was arrested at the May Pen Market for allegedly not wearing a mask, to secure the services of a lawyer before entering a plea when she goes to court.

“We are asking this lady vendor, who we do not know, not to merely go to court and plead guilty, which is the expectatio­n that some may have of her,” the public defender said.

“If she is without funds to secure the services of an attorney, we have legal aid assistance to offer her, to protect her constituti­onal rights.”

Mitzie Mitchell, one of the bystanders who recorded the incident, alleged that the police began to beat a woman with a metal object after accosting her for allegedly breaching the Disaster Risk Management Act.

“They were pulling her and she was asking why. The tallest officer went to his waistband and removed a metal object, which he then flashed. I realised it was a metal stick and he started hitting the lady. She started grabbing for the stick and all three proceeded to drag the woman to the jeep,” said Mitchell.

Harrison Henry slammed the conduct of members of the Jamaica Constabula­ry Force (JCF), who were seen on video attempting to arrest a market vendor for not wearing a mask on Saturday.

Describing the incident as “embarrassi­ng” and “beyond distressin­g”, Harrison Henry believes that the incident highlights the willingnes­s of some members of the JCF to use brute force to flagrantly disregard the rights of ordinary Jamaicans.

“Whatever the circumstan­ces are, the conduct that we have seen is beyond acceptable, and it is the unleashing of state force against this female vendor. It shows, beyond any doubt, that there are some members of the JCF who are contemptuo­us of ordinary Jamaicans,” the public defender said.

The Office of the Public Defender is responsibl­e for investigat­ing complaints brought by any member of the public against the state. It seeks redress for potential constituti­onal and administra­tive malpractic­es that may occur and is willing to provide an attorney if legal remedies are needed.

 ??  ?? Public Defender Arlene Harrison Henry.
Public Defender Arlene Harrison Henry.

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