FOUR of seven police officers detained by the Police Service’s Professional Standards Unit for allegedly setting fire to a teenager being held at the Princes Town Police Station now face criminal charges.
The four were positively identified yesterday at the Barataria Police Station, during a series of identification parades conducted by an acting inspector. One of the four police officers identified is female.
Three more identification parades are expected to be held today.
The officers have been detained since Thursday when they received telephone messages at the stations to which they are attached to report to the Professional Standard Bureau with their attorneys.
The alleged victim, 18-year-old Jamerson John, and his attorney, Petronilla Basdeo, were present at the identification parades.
John claimed that on Christmas Eve last year, police officers stripped him to his underpants, doused him with methylated spirits and set him alight after he refused to confess to robbing two people and breaking into a house near his Moruga home.
John was hospitalised for burns to his torso, leg and genital area.
The Express was told that analysis at the Forensic Science Centre in Federation Park on John’s clothing showed there was no evidence of chemicals or burning.
The Police Complaints Authority (PCA) called for a copy of the police investigation file, including reports on John’s clothing and the scented candles. The authority submitted a file to Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Roger Gaspard.
In April, investigators of the Professional Standards Bureau received instructions from Gaspard to place the officers on identification parades.
What the police say happened
Police have disputed the allegation, saying John had used methylated spirits on a wound and spilled the liquid on his clothing before he was arrested by police.
Officers said when John was taken into custody, he walked past scented candles at the Princes Town station and his clothes caught afire.