THE NEW TODAY welcome the decision taken by the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) to launch an immediate investigation into an incident which occurred last Sunday night in which political activist, Sheldon Monah of the Carenage, St. George’s was allegedly beaten and brutalised at the South St. George Police Station.
Persons from this newspaper have seen the wounds on Mr. Monah and are greatly disturbed to think that this could have happened at a police station.
All police officers have taken the oath to uphold the motto of the force which is primarily to protect and serve. There is nothing in the motto which speaks of brutality against the public.
Mr. Monah alleged that he was taken from the NDC rally at Morne Rouge to the nearby police station, locked up in a cell and later on the lights were taken off and at least two police officers came into the darkened cell and gave him a good beating.
This newspaper has taken the unusual step of printing a photograph as part of its editorial in order to show the graphic marks around Mr. Monah’s neck and the bruises from a badly swollen face.
He told us that while in the cell something was placed around his neck by the police officers to help subdue him. It is this something that caused the clearly visible bruises in the area of the neck. The officers kept pulling it and insisting that he stop bawling or else they will tighten it and kill him.
Did this thing really happen at a police station? Who did it and why? Who authorised it? Were others inside the station aware of what was happening and did nothing to stop it?
If police officers are found to be culpable in causing harm to Mr. Monah then those responsible for such acts of brutality should face exemplary punishment.
Our police force can do without these kinds of elements from within the ranks. This is our police force and not a force that is willing to harbour undesirables, criminals and law-breakers.
One year ago, the image of RGPF suffered tremendously in the international media over the Oscar Bartholomew beating and subsequent death arising from an incident involving police officers at the St. David’s Police Station.
This incident resulted in the public once again focusing their attention on the old bogey of police brutality and those persons in the past who suffered at the hands of rogue cops.
As far as THE NEW TODAY is concerned, no citizen who infringed on the law – regardless of the crime committed – should suffer such bodily harm as allegedly done to Mr. Monah.
This newspaper has every confidence that Prime Minister Tillman Thomas who is the Minister of National Security and responsible for Police, as well as the Commissioner of Police, Willan Thompson and other members of the High Command will do whatever is necessary to get to the bottom of this issue.
However, THE NEW TODAY would be monitoring the development rather closely to ensure that no attempt at any cover-up by the police takes place as this would not be tolerated and accepted.
The country is entering a critical period with the 2013 general elections just around the corner, and the police ought to do nothing to compromise the integrity of our elections.
If Mr. Monah broke the law then he should face the consequences of his actions and if police officers did commit an illegal offence by engaging in acts of brutal force then they too should be dealt with.
All those who are under suspicion of taking part in the alleged beating of Mr. Monah should be suspended immediately or transferred to another posting in order for the investigation to be conducted in a free, open and transparent manner.
The chips should then be allowed to fall in their rightful places.