Police chief says some suspects ‘coached’ into brutality claims
Commissioner of Police Ellison Greenslade recently suggested that some suspects who claim that police beat them while in custody are “coached” to do so as a part of their defense.
“When we turn up at a crime scene, a person has no face,” Greenslade said.
“A young man has taken a weapon, up close and personal, a shotgun, and has blown [someone’s] face off — a gory crime.
“Family members turn up and can’t believe what they are looking at — a gory scene, etched in the minds of the reporters and press people who are there, all of the young police officers, the morticians and everyone else who has to deal with that.
“Two days later we are taking the person responsible before a court of law and the only reference that you are going to make is that he alleges — this person who is not even acting like a human — alleges that the police have beaten him.
“You’re looking at him, he’s walking and decides he’s going to play for the cameras.
“So he starts to do nonsense and play the fool because he recognizes that he’s in a country where everybody is listening.
“Your jury pool is going to come from that wider community and he starts his defense right there.
“My goodness, why can’t you all see it?
“He starts his defense right there and he’s coached.
“He’s coached; ‘this is how you ought to behave’.”
When asked who coaches the suspects, Greenslade replied, “I’m going to offer some respect and leave it there.
“I think we can deduce.”
Scores of young men are charged yearly with violent crimes and some of them claim that while in custody, police abuse them.
Just recently, two of the four men charged with the murder of American sailor Kyle Bruner claimed they were beaten by police.
Greenslade noted though that if police are found in the wrong, they are dealt with.
“We’ve done investigations into many of these matters, expediently, to deal with the officers where we’ve had evidence so to do,” he said.
Greenslade previously told reporters that 30 officers were dismissed from the police force since he took command.
Two men died while detained in police custody in February.
Inquests were launched into the circumstances surrounding the deaths of Jamie Smith, 35 and Aaron Rolle, 20.
A Coroner’s Court jury ruled that Rolle was unlawfully killed.
He died from a ruptured intestine caused by blunt force trauma to his abdomen on February 9, two days after his arrest on charges of escape and armed robbery.
The inquest into Smith’s death has not concluded and continues on June 21.
Smith died of asphyxia (lack of oxygen) on February 8 at the Central Detective Unit within hours of his arrest on suspicion of armed robbery.