|The land, the light, the police brutality|
For two years, she has been fighting a case against the cops she says assaulted her over a parking violation. And in the end, there was no parking violation. They didn't even give her a ticket.
What they did give her was a good roughing up and a punch in the face that caused the whites of her eyes to swell with blood for weeks. They also gave her two hours in the worst guest house in the island - Custody Suites, under the patronage of Her Imperial Majesty.
|RSLPF - Treating Lucians like dogs since 1741|
She stopped on a single yellow line near Clarke's Drug Store on Bridge Street to let her 60-something-year-old mom. As she was moving off, a cop pulled her over and accosted her for obstructing traffic. She pointed out that she was on a single yellow line, dropping off an old lady. Furthermore, she observed that there was no traffic and therefore, no obstruction.
The young cop's anger boiled over and though he let her go, a few moments later another cop stopped her.
"This must be my lucky day," she said to herself.
The second cop asked her to get out and leave her mother and son in the car. Why? Because the first cop had come crying to him that 'the girl in that car told me to 'Fuck off!'"
"Come with me," the new cop said, escorting her to the station. Of course, she protested.
"What am I going to the station for? What are you charging me with?" she asked, bewildered and confused.
"Shut up!" snapped the officer in charge, as they walked into the station. "You cannot be shouting in the station like that!"
"I'm not shouting, I'm just asking why I'm here."
"Sit down!" But she didn't want to sit.
She figured they had to give her some reason for her detention, they had to question her or charge her with something. If not, she had no business there. And if they tried to keep her there, she was going to need a lawyer.
"I'm calling my lawyer," she announced.
"You're not allowed to use your phone in here!" the OIC growled. As she proceeded to try to get help on the phone, four of the eight or nine officers in the room accosted her, trying to rip the phone from her hands. She put both hands, with the phone, between her thighs, thinking that the good gentlemen would not pursue the phone into her crotch.
|What you say about that, Commissioner?|
They went after it with such a vengeance that one of the cops punched her in the face as though she was his wife's outside man. After taking the punch, she was told by the OIC that she was the one who hit the officer.
"Now that you have assaulted an officer, we're taking your phone, your jewelry, stripping you naked and locking you up," he told her.
Of course, he denies that now. They all deny it. As far as they know, a young woman accused of a traffic violation was brought in and then proceeded to attack big, burly, brawling policemen. A likely story. (If it was true, she wouldn't be facing criminal charges, she would be sentenced to therapy for being a crazy person.)
Since June 28th, 2011, the cops have dallied and delayed the case they brought against her for assaulting an officer. She has been to court 15 times, four times this year alone. But the cops and their lawyer always have an excuse. This past Thursday, their lawyer was ostensibly at High Court. Her lawyer was politely impatient.
"I'm asking for this case to be dismissed for lack of evidence," he begged the magistrate.
"If he's at High Court, the matter must be adjourned," the magistrate concluded, somberly.
"Two years, your worship..."
"The time is not particularly relevant."
Her lawyer asked for bench warrants to be issued for the absent cops (only two of the four showed up and they showed up late - practically giving the court the middle finger). The new date for the case was set for July 2nd.
In the meantime, the cops continue to jeer at her in the street.
"You can watch us, but you can never touch us," one told her, confirming the suspicion of many St Lucians that police think that are untouchable, above the law, protected from their wrongdoings rather than held to the same standard as everyone else.
She thinks they are trying to frustrate her, drag the whole thing out until she is fed up and make her drop it. But they messed with the wrong girl, this time. She is not going to drop it. Even though she is afraid of being targeted, even though she is reluctant to speak to the media, she is determined to see the case through to the end and then sue then in civil court afterward.
"It's not about money or compensation," she tells her friends. "It's about the principle. Since when do they take people to the station for traffic violations. Since when someone in police custody cannot call a lawyer? These things make you hate police. It's taken me a long time to stop just hating and being angry."
|Too much paramilitary training, not enough manners|
No one should be above the law. Officers make mistakes, yes. But when they do,they should own up to it as fast as possible so that the public can know to trust them, despite their human failings. The longer they hide and cover up, the more proof they provide that they are just the biggest, most legal gang in the country.
If they can give the law their middle finger, why would they expect anyone else to obey it?
|O'er the laaaand of the beat...and the home...of the....slaaaaaaave!|