One man who has been nabbed and charged by police officers for a drug related matter is now shouting “police brutality” as he says beatings he endured by an officer of the law has left him currently unable to provide for his family.
Martin Telesford, a 42-year-old Auto Body Repairman from Syracuse, St. David walked into THE NEW TODAY newspaper last Wednesday complaining that he was physically assaulted by a police officer at Westerhall Point in a recent operation.
Telesford claimed that he was an innocent passenger in a vehicle in which a quantity of compressed marijuana was found inside by police officers.
He said that on the day in question October 26 that around 11.00 a.m. he left home and got “a ride with a gentleman…reached to Westerhall Point, dropped out, I turned my back on the vehicle, the police pull up…I didn’t know was the police…while going my way , the police just jumped out the vehicle and gave me a ‘chuck’.
“I fell about 2 feet away in a drain. When I fall down, he just take his foot and stomp me on my chest, from my chest he put his foot in my neck. My whole side got damage – my arm, I can’t use it how I want. I have seven children to take care of and I cannot work so well right now,” he added.
THE NEW TODAY contacted the police for reaction to the allegation and a spokesman disputed the events as given by Telesford.
He said the police had intelligence that the vehicle was carrying illegal drugs and had been monitoring it.
He indicated that Teleseford only got out of the vehicle when the police pulled up to execute a search.
According to the spokesman, the charged man was attempting to obstruct the police from carrying out their work and had to be pushed out of the way in an effort to restrain him.
Telesford was accompanied to the office of THE NEW TODAY newspaper by civil rights activist, Earl Maitland, who has been vocal in recent years about abuse of power and the lack of execution of power by the present authorities.
Maitland believes that Telesford was assaulted unnecessarily by the police and deemed it unfortunate that he was left to foot the medical bills for the injuries incurred.
“Whilst in the station he was even complaining about the pains he was going through due to the unnecessary blows that was delivered by the officer. Mr. Telesford was brought to the General Hospital where he was seen by a doctor, a prescription was written by the doctor due to the pain. There is also a swelling on the left side of his hip, he has chest pains, and he is unable to eat at the moment or even drink…he has throat problems…”, said the activist.
“…The police turned to Mr. Telesford and asked him if he has any money to purchase the medication that was prescribed, he said no, he doesn’t have any money. They brought him back to the station whilst he was in pain and he was aware that he was assaulted by an officer in the throat. He could have been dead today…once someone is in the custody of the police, it is their duty to ensure that that person survives to be brought to court to be proven innocent or guilty”, he added.
Telesford is currently out on bail after being charged with trafficking of controlled drug along with the driver of the vehicle, 69-year-old Arthur Lett of Westerhall, St. David.
Lett is known to the police and was not the first time he had been taken into custody for possession of illegal drugs.
Maitland also brought in another man, Curtist Thomas, a resident of Gouyave, St. John who also complained about police brutality.
Thomas has been frequently in police custody and is now complaining that he is not getting any justice in the country.
According to Maitland, this is failure on the part of the police to do their jobs.
He said: “Unfortunately this morning, Curtist, when we went to do a follow-up, he was informed that the Statue of Limitations which is three months – a three month period, has passed on a report that he made against a perpetrator who continues to harass and assault Curtist.
“Curtist went to the police within the three month period and gave a report. In fact, he gave numerous reports on numerous occasions; they have never been dealt with accordingly. Many times Curtist was told that it would either be looked into or the report was lost.
“…Curtist has gone along the ranks – he has gone many different persons, from Constables to Corporals to Sergeants, even to Commissioner and he has not gotten any justice. Now we have the gentleman’s son here as well, Shawn Dinnah, he is also being victimised by the same person.
“Just Monday, Shawn has been threatened by the same individual. The report has been made… the police have failed to do their jobs, their legally mandated jobs…the perpetrator seems to be so comfortable enough to expand his injustice to a member of the family, which is the son.
Maitland alleges that at least 18 out of the 30 articles of the International Declaration of Human Rights have been “breached by the Government of Grenada and public servants.”
He charged that Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, Dr. Keith Mitchell and Governor General Dame Cecile La Grenade are also at fault in terms of making sure that the international obligations are carried out.
“We did call on the Minister of National Security since last year, he has failed to respond. He has no respect for his duties, neither does the Governor General. I contacted the Governor General, her office at least 15 times, actually went to her residence at least five times and called on the Governor General to honour section 72 of the Grenada Constitution and she has failed to do so, failed miserably. She has not returned any of my calls, it’s very disrespectful”, he said.
The activst warned that citizens might soon be forced to take the law into their own hands in their pursuit for justice.
“What I am in fear of though, the failure of these persons, RGPF, Ombudsman’s Office, Governor General, Prime Minister who is unfortunately the Minister of National Security – is that persons who are becoming frustrated including myself might tend to start taking justice into their own hands, seeing that they do everything in their power possibly to remain law abiding citizens…and at the end it seems as though we’re basically just wasting time.
“The frustration – what it actually does is it angers you, it puts much hatred in you, it turns you into a beast actually and what I’m scared of is that frustration will cause persons to act contrary to the law and take matters into their own hands and we will have vigilantes just running around Grenada.