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Teenager: Cops set me on fire

By Nikita Braxton- Benjamin nikita.braxton@trinidadexpress.com

An 18-year-old is claiming that he was arrested by police officers who set him afire at the Princes Town Police Station after dousing his body with a flammable liquid.

Jamerson John is under police guard at the San Fernando General Hospital.

However, his mother Sherma Atwater, was able to take cell phone images of her son in the hospital bed, and plans to report the  alleged incident to the Police Complaints Authority (PCA).

A senior superintendent of police told the Express  yesterday that the case would be investigated.

Atwater told the Express that on Christmas Day she received a phone call from the hospital that her son was a patient at the Burns Unit .

Atwater, of Indian Walk, Moruga, said she last saw her son  the previous day at the Princes Town Police Station.

She said on Christmas Eve two “van loads” of police officers came to her house and one officer, armed with a gun, entered her home looking for John.

The mother of three said she told the policeman that he was not at home.

She said the officers later found John along the street and took him to the police station with another teenager.

When she was told by people in the area that John had been arrested, Atwater went to the police station. Officers said her son was being questioned in relation to an incident of housebreaking and larceny, and she was told John would face the court on Friday.

But after the hospital called, Atwater found John handcuffed to a bed and suffering from burns to his torso, leg and genital area.

Atwater, 38, said John told her he was “put on a table in his boxers and with his hands in handcuffs behind his back, and police threw methylated spirit and lit him afire”.

She said this happened after he refused to admit to being involved in the allegation of housebreaking and larceny.

She said that another teenager was hit in the face when he tried to help John. That teen was also later threatened by the police, she said.

John told his mother that when he was taken for medical attention at both the Princes Town health facility and San Fernando General Hospital.

At the San Fernando hospital, the officers told him to tell doctors that he was passing close to scented candles at the police station, and was burnt.

He said that when he was alone with one of the doctors, he told the doctor how he sustained the injuries.

Atwater also showed $15 in a sealed bag which she said her son was given by the policemen to travel back to his home at Indian Walk near Moruga after being discharged from hospital.

But she said officers later returned, and John is under police guard at present at the hospital.

A senior police officer yesterday told the Express that he was unaware of the details of the case but the allegations being made by John would be investigated.

Two teens yesterday appeared before the Princes Town court charged with housebreaking and larceny.

Atwater said she was in court for the hearing.

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