TRINIDAD: Arrested for telling cops: 'Find something good to do"

(TRINIDAD EXPRESS) – KERN COFFIE, who was arrested and charged with telling police officers who were in his neighbourhood to “find something good to do”, yesterday appeared ­before the court.

And Senior Magistrate Cherril-Anne Antoine said while the police officers had their jobs to do, they did not have to be so sensitive and could have ignored Coffie.

Coffie, 23, was charged with behaving in a disorderly manner and resisting arrest while 15 officers were on exercise duty in La Romaine on Tuesday.

It was at 4.20 p.m. that Constable Sankar, dressed in police operational wear, was on duty along George Street, La Romaine. He saw Coffie standing at the side of the road gesticulating and heard him shouting: “Why allyuh doh find something good to do?” The officer approached Coffie, who was gesticulating violently, and Coffie said: “Boy, you cyar do me nothin’.”

Police prosecutor Sgt Denzil Alexander said Coffie was told he was under arrest for disorderly behaviour, and the officer held onto his right hand. Coffie pulled away vio­lently. He did so on two other occasions.

Coffie was arrested with the assistance of other officers and taken to Marabella Police Station.

Defence attorney Frank Gittens told the court his client worked as an electrician for the past six years. He also said Coffie was married and a father of two.

Gittens said: “Even though we live in a country where there is freedom of speech, you put yourself at risk how it lands on people’s ears. He didn’t intend for it to ­escalate to this level.”

Gittens said his client resisted arrest ­because he was confused that he was being arrested for his comments. He said there was a small element of provocation in the case.

The magistrate said while there is a crime situation in the country, the police did not have to be so sensitive. She said Coffie had foolishly uttered the words.

“He didn’t even use obscene language. They could have ignored (him) and continued on with their business.”

She asked the reason for Coffie not ­being granted bail at the police station.

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