Lawyer Kay-Bacchus Baptiste has raised concern over what she said is the silence by religious and other groups on the abuses meted out to Vincentians by police during recent protest actions in Kingstown.
At a media conference at her law chambers, hosted by herself and lawyer Israel Bruce on Tuesday afternoon, Bacchus-Baptiste highlighted a number of persons who not only were arrested and charged but were physically abused by police officers during the protests.
The most brutal of the abuses occurred last week Thursday when police constable Verrol Sam put a chokehold on Carly John, husband of opposition senator Shevorn John. She noted that there was no condemnation of the abuse.
“Here we have PC Sam, not a single reprimand from anybody. But they have charged Mr John with three charges,” Bacchus-Baptiste said.
Bacchus-Baptiste also highlighted the matter where prison officer Kenson King, a supporter of the opposition New Democratic Party (NDP), was physically abused by police during a protest on July 29th, 2021.
“All of us saw that video where Kenson King was mercilessly pushed, chucked, at the protest – I think it was the one on the 29th (of July) – pushed. And as they pushed him, and advancing policeman – I think it was about three or four of them – just kept advancing and chucking hi, chucking him in his chest. He sustained damages to his chest.
“I wrote the Commissioner of Police about it for an identity, so he can identify who the police officer was, and we sent him a clip of the videotape. I have not even had the courtesy of a response – nothing from him.
“I have had no comments by any member of the Christian Council, the Bar Association and all these righteous groups that speak out – nothing when Mr Kenson King was chucked and pushed like that,’ she said.
“Mr John Mofford had his head busted with a baton. it took three stitches, no charge. He wasn’t charged for anything then. No comment from the same bodies that I spoke about.
It’s as if we have no feeling now and if it is a protester, you can do whatever you feel like to them.,” Bacchus-Baptiste also stated.
Bacchus-Baptiste reiterated that the injury to Mofford’s head took three stitches and he was turned away twice when he went to the hospital, bleeding, to seek attention.
“I haven’t heard anybody condemn this. What is going on in St Vincent?” she said.
Bacchus-Baptiste said she again wrote to Commissioner of Police Colin John, informing him that it was known that it was a female police officer who struck John in his head with a baton. She said she copied the letter to the Attorney General with a view to having the female officer identified.
“I have not had the courtesy of a reply,” she said.
“And, of course, we know the situation with Carly John. And then there is Kent Findlay, not as bad, but Kent Findlay was sitting in his van on the 5th (of August) and he was pulled out of it by, according to him, by the commissioner himself. The commissioner himself assaulted Kent Findlay,” she said.
Bacchus-Baptiste said that when the matter was reported to her she went to the police commissioner who was standing in the vicinity of the Central Police Station. She said she tried to speak with him but he walked away.