Friday, January 19, 2018

Seven cops detained

SEVEN police officers alleged to have set fire to a teenager being held at Princes Town Police Station, have been detained by officers of the Police Service's Professional Standards Unit.

The seven officers were expected to be placed on identification parades yesterday.

However, the ID parades were not conducted and the officers were instead taken to Central Police Station, Port of Spain.

The Express was told that the police officers had received telephone messages at the stations to which they are attached, to report to the Professional Standard Bureau with their attorneys yesterday.

They were expected to be placed on identification parades yesterday morning.

The alleged victim, 18-year-old Jamerson John, and his attorney Petronilla Basdeo were informed and were told to be present at Barataria Police Station at 10.30 a.m.

An acting inspector was expected to conduct the seven identification parades which were to begin yesterday and continue into today.

Attorney Basdeo and her client arrived on time but, hours later, she, John, and his mother Sherma Atwater were told there was a "keep back".

At 4.45 p.m. yesterday, they were told that the parades would not be conducted. The ID parades were expected to be conducted following John's claim that he was doused with methylated spirit and set alight after he was stripped to his underpants.

John had said that this was done after he refused to confess to robbing two people and breaking into a house near his Moruga home.

The teenager was hospitalised for burns to his torso, leg and genital area.

Police have disputed his allegation, saying that John had used methylated spirit 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.

The Express was told that analysis at the Forensic Science Centre, St James, on John's clothing showed that 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 Roger Gaspard.

In April, investigators of the Professional Standards Bureau received instructions from Gaspard to place the officers on identification parades.