Two Sundays ago, my attention was drawn to a story carried in the Sunday Herald. The only thing I have to say is that reading it, I just had to ask myself who was worse, the gunman or the people who our tax dollars are paying to serve and protect. At least with the criminals they make no pretence…but when people are are collecting money to protect are doing the opposite…then what do you do?
Check out the following story carried in the Sunday Herald and holla at us.
Imagine stopping at a red light at an intersection, and while you are waiting for the green light, you observe a police car breaking the red light from the opposite direction. Now imagine after the police car breaks the stop light it hits your car, wrecking it.
After some wrangling with the police about the accident it gets worse. A few days later, police officers, including an inspector of police, show up at your premises and proceed to assault you and threaten to kill you on another day. What do you do? Call the police?
To serve, Protect and Reassure is the motto of the Jamaica Constabulary Force, but when you speak with Robert Hill, you can see that he believes that assault, intimidate and murder might be a more suitable motto for some in that uniform.
On July 11, 2009 at roughly 12:15 a.m., Hill, an entertainer, came to a stop at a red light at an intersection on the Spanish Town bypass. While there a police car coming from the opposite direction, ran the red light, and according to police records, to aid in the rescue of a police patrol in a shootout in Central Village.
The police car hit Hill’s car and two other cars. Hill’s car was ‘written off’ and the police officer was sent to the hospital. Hill and other passengers in his vehicle were transported to the Spanish Town police station, to give a statement. Hill said that when he was transported to the Spanish Town police station, he spent about four hours at the station but didn’t give a written statement.
He said he asked why he wasn’t allowed to give a written statement and was told by the investigating officer, Sergeant Gardener, to give it the following day and that he had 24 hours to give it. He also enquired why his car was being examined, as it was only cars that were moving at the time of the accident should be examined. Hill said no reason was given.
The Police Statement
When the Sunday Herald contacted Sergeant Gardener, he said that he examined all the vehicles that were hit by the police car.
“It’s standard procedure,” Gardener said. But when the Sunday Herald spoke with one of the motorists involved in the accident, Morain Burke, and asked him if his car was examined, he said, “My car was not examined. I came into the station and gave my statement and a left.”
Burke also explained that giving his statement didn’t take very long, and he drove his car. He said it was damaged but it could be driven to the station. It seemed that either Burke was mistaken or the sergeant was lying. The Sunday Herald has learnt that only cars that were moving during the time of the accident should be examined. As to why Hill’s car was examined it is unclear.
When Hill returned the next day to give his statement of the accident, an officer told him that they couldn’t take his statement, and he was asked why he didn’t give it on the night of the accident. “They told me that they could not take my statement, (and asked) why I did not give it from the time of the accident. I told them that Sergeant Gardener told me to return to give it,” Hill said.
Hill refused to leave the station until he gave his statement. It was then Hill said, that a police officer dressed in uniform, grabbed him by his collar, and pushed him out of the police station. After some persistence, he eventually gave the statement two days later.
Caught on Camera
According to Hill, if trying to get compensation for the damage to his car wasn’t enough, a cadre of police officers have been trying to kill him.
Hill, who lives in the Corporate Area, was threatened and beaten by a group of police officers from the Half-Way Tree police station, including an inspector of police on July 29. He says that his life was spared when one of his neighbours came out to enquire what was going on and one of the police officers whispered to him, “See you get witness now.”
Hill feared that they would return to kill him, so, acting on the advice from human rights group, Jamaicans for Justice, he installed cameras on his premises and sure enough, they did return on Monday August 14, and they were caught on camera.
A policeman, who was identified as an inspector, and who is stationed at the Half-Way Tree police station, was seen with his pistol drawn and walking through the front grill on a copy of the tape obtained by the Sunday Herald. On the policeman’s arrival, all occupants of the house left the premises. After the house is cleared another police officer is seen holding Hill by his locks and dragging him into his house. Hill is seen resisting and holding on to a grill, while policemen are seen pulling his hands away.
While being dragged into the house, his wife Kumiko, a Japanese national, who was also eight months pregnant, held on to his abdomen. Another police officer grabbed her from behind and carried her outside. At this time Hill is out of the camera frame but a police officer can be seen thrusting downward with his hand while two officers stand by the grill.
The tape shows the police officer dragging Hill closer to the front door where the officer is seen assaulting the unarmed man with a pair of pliers. Hill seems to be in agony, as the policeman continues to pick at his flesh. It was then that Hill’s wife Kumiko ran past the two officers at the door and entered into the room and held on to Hill again. The two officers at the door tried to stop her, but then let her go. The same police officer who was assaulting Hill led him upstairs with Kumiko still holding on to his waist.
It’s not clear why Kumiko was allowed into the house, but according to a statement that she gave about the incident, the police then proceeded to search the bedrooms and bathrooms and one officer she described as “the young policeman” called her an “idiot gal” and threaten to hit her in the face and kill her. Along with the threat, Kumiko said policemen held her husband by his locks while hitting him in the head.
She said while upstairs she received injuries to her left elbow and right arm when a policeman pushed her husband into a dresser. After nearly 10 minutes, the couple return downstairs with the cop still holding on to her husband’s locks. The couple was later taken to the station.
But why did all this happen and why were they carried to the station? Currently Deputy Commissioner of Police Charles Scarlett is carrying out an investigation into the incident. DCP Scarlett didn’t confirm or deny seeing the tape, but told us that he was investigating the complaint and when the investigation was through he would make a report to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution.
Superintendent Terrence Bent of the Half-Way Tree police told the Sunday Herald that the reasons for carrying Kumiko and another Japanese girl to the station were to check to see if the two Japanese girls were legitimately in the island, as well as for another reason he wasn’t at liberty to tell the Sunday Herald. But according to a police statement made by Kumiko, the police officers who came to her home were not interested in taking her to the station — her husband seemed to be the primary person.
“The police said that I could stay but I insisted to go with my husband. We were then taken to a police vehicle and told that we would be taken to the police station,” said Kumiko in a police statement.
As for the assault on Hill, Superintendent Bent said he didn’t hear or know of any assault or of any tape of an assault. Hill says the police superintendent is lying, as on one occasion while he was at the Public Defender’s office, Bent called him and said that he saw the tape and was asking him not to give the tape to DCP Scarlett.
Inspector Linton Allen, who was seen on the tape, declined to speak with the Sunday Herald about the matter, as it was under investigation. But he did tell us to ask Hill what he was doing before they carried him into the house. So we did.
Hill said he was at a house in are where he lives trying to get the attention of a cable man when he was accosted by the police and carried into his home. The police officer that held on to him shouted that he had thrown a gun into the yard. He said the cable man and other occupants in the house tried to tell the police man that he didn’t throw a weapon in the yard, but the police officer continued unperturbed.
The Sunday Herald has now learnt that the logbook at the station did not report that Hill was there on August 14, but when speaking with Superintendent Bent, he was asked if Hill was beaten in the station on August 14. He said no, as he was present when he was brought in.
Hill has his own theory as to why the police came to his home on July 29 and August 14. It’s because the police are trying to kill him, in an attempt to cover up what happened in Spanish Town, he said.
“That’s the reason why. I never had no problem with the police… is just (when) the accident happen, me see police a try kill me,” said Hill.