Seasoned criminal attorney Anselm Clouden has issued a call for an independent Commission of Inquiry into the conduct of Police Officers and the entire Police Force.
His call came at a time when Green Street, St. George’s Resident Sheldon Monah claimed to have been beaten by Police Officers while being in police custody at the South St. George Police Station at Morne Rouge, St. George’s on December 9.
While addressing the issue during a press conference at his Law Office on Lucas Street, St. George’s last week Friday, Clouden said that having regard to the “frequency and regularity” with which citizens are allegedly brutalised while in police custody, he suggested that Prime Minister Tillman Thomas who has responsibility for National Security should take steps to set up an inquiry, as well as adopt the relevant remedial steps that can be taken in the interim to abate “this rampant surge of brutality against suspects.”
The outspoken attorney believes that something has to be done urgently to combat alleged brutality of civilians by members of the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF).
“You need to inquire into it intrusively as to what psychology prevails that would cause certain Police Officers to persistently brutalise suspects to the extent where some die at the hands of the police,” he said.
According to the City Barrister, if the alleged incidents of police brutality are allowed to go unpunished, Grenada would be sending the wrong signal to the community at large.
He believes this would give the country a bad name on the international market.
About a year ago, Grenadian Oscar Bartholomew who resided in Canada died as a result of injuries he sustained while in custody of lawmen at the St. David’s Police Station.
Five Police Officers are charged with manslaughter in connection with Bartholomew’s death. They are currently on bail in the sum of $100,000.00 each.
Clouden identified a Sergeant of Police as being one of the Police Officers who arrested Monah and took him to South St. George Police Station.
Monah was arrested on allegations of disorderly behaviour at a political meeting of the incumbent National Democratic Congress (NDC) at Morne Rouge Playing field during which four of the St. George’s-based Caretakers were presented.
The City Barrister said while taking pictures of the event Monah was arrested and taken to the nearby police station where he was allegedly brutalised.
Monah was allegedly punched in the right eye and marks of injuries around his neck were visible.
It is suspected that Monah’s shoelace was used around his neck in what is believed to be an attempt to strangle him.
According to Clouden, his client’s shoelace was not returned to him after being released from custody.
He said he would initiate a private criminal prosecution against the Sergeant of Police whom he said is responsible for the injuries that his client sustained.
Monah has to answer a charge of disorderly behaviour on January 2, 2013 at the St. George’s Magistrate’s Court arising out of the incident.
Both Clouden and Monah admitted that this is not the first encounter the young man would have had with the police.
The Green Street resident recounted that in 2008 he was allegedly brutalised at the hands of the police at the Grenada National Stadium.
He stopped short of saying that he is being targeted by the RGPF membership.
Monah said he does not want to venture that far since he believes that every Police Officer is not of the same nature.
The political activist also used the occasion of the press conference to disassociate the NDC for the alleged acts of police brutality that he suffered.
After the September 30 expulsions from Congress of nine senior party members, Monah publicly gave support to dismissed member Peter David, the Member of Parliament for The Town of St. George constituency.
Monah commended Prime Minister Tillman Thomas who is the Political Leader of the NDC for acting swiftly to put out a statement condemning the actions of the police against him.
“If there is any way that the NDC does anything and I think that they deserve blows, I will fairly give them the blows that they deserve but in this incident, I would say… I congratulate the National Democratic Congress for their quick response in that matter,” he said.
Police Commissioner Willan Thompson who arrived back in the country over the weekend is said to have given instructions for a speedy investigation into the Sheldon Monah incident.