PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad, Tuesday December 30, 2014, CMC – Police have launched an investigation into a video that has gone viral showing two Trinidad police officers abusing a man in a wheelchair.
The incident is reported to have taken place over the weekend in San Fernando, south of Port-of-Spain, and shows a plain clothes officer slapping the unidentified man in the wheelchair, while a police woman is seen disengaging the brakes on the wheel chair and pushing it into the road.
Southern Division Senior Supt Cecil Santana has described the actions of the people in the video as a disgrace to the Police Service.
National Security Minister Gary Griffith said he knew of the video and the matter was being investigated.
“I am aware that the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) is fully aware of the situation. Also, the Commissioner of Police and the matter is being investigated. So until the investigation is completed it will be inappropriate for me to make any statement at this time.”
Acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams has appointed a team from the Professional Standards Bureau to investigate the incident, while the PCA in a statement said “it is aware of a video that has been circulating on social media of alleged impropriety of persons who appear to be officers of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS).”
The Authority stated that, “pursuant to the functions of the Police Complaints Authority Act”, it has initiated an independent investigation into the incident and is calling for any witnesses or persons with information on the incident to contact the PCA.
The Police Social and Welfare Association (PSWA) has also criticised the actions of the police officers in the video, describing the incident as “worrisome” and calling for a speedy investigation into the matter.
PSWA general secretary Michael Seales said while the man may have insulted the police, the officers’ response was unnecessary.
“We have established that summary offences have been committed by the man but the exchange between the officer and the man, doesn’t warrant that type of interaction by the officer, in terms of what would have happened to the man, based on what has gone viral.
“We are very concerned and hope this is one of the investigations that the Commissioner completes as quickly as possible to the satisfaction of the citizens who would have witnessed the incident,” Seales said.