Teen claims family members beaten by immigration officers

The Agenor family was asleep at home on Bedrock Road when its members were awakened by a rattling sound at the front gate shortly after 5 a.m., according to Leandra Agenor, a 15-year-old who was in the house at the time of the incident.

Leandra said when she and her mother peeked out the window, they were met by more than a dozen immigration and police officers.

“Mummy put the dog in the gate,” Leandra told The Nassau Guardian.

“They asked my mummy to come in, but she said, ‘Not without a warrant.’”

However, she said her mother later changed her mind and granted the officers permission to enter the property.

Leandra claimed moments later she witnessed officers attack her relatives, including her 15-year-old cousin.

“All of them rushed up on him and [started] beating him,” she said.

“Like nine of them were on him and he’s 15.”

Leandra added, “My other cousin, Jermaine, tried to help him and they beat him too.”

She said two other relatives were also beaten when they tried to assist the 15-year-old boy.

The middle school student said she was terrified by events that unfolded in the chaotic haze of the early morning because officers shot off a gun at least two times.

“They [were] beating on my cousin and they shot the gun,” she said.

“I thought they did shoot him but they didn’t shoot him because he ran. They fired shots in front of us and that’s when I started recording [with my cellphone].”

Leandra added, “Everyone was just fighting and beating all the people around. I was trying to figure out what was going on because all the immigration officers were just beating the people, beating all of my cousins. I was confused.”

Up to press time, Leandra said her mother and four other relatives were still being held by immigration and police officers at the Carmichael Road Police Station.

The Department of Immigration said yesterday 21 males and seven females were part of Operation Rising Sun, a joint operation with the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) that began around 4 a.m.

The exercise targeted Flamingo Close, Jubilee Gardens, Venice Bay, Area 51 Haitian Village, Carmichael Road, Sir Milo Butler Highway, McKinney Drive and Bedrock Haitian Village, off Bacardi Road.

In a statement, the department said 16 of the individuals who were apprehended were committed to the Carmichael Road Detention Center for various immigration offenses including illegal landing and overstaying.

“We will continue to conduct our duties without fear, favor or malice in a civil, humane and fair manner consistent with both local and international laws,” the department said in a statement.

“The department will not tolerate the blatant and deliberate assault on our officers while executing their duties or continued breaches of the statute laws of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas.”

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Jasper Ward

Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues. Education: Goldsmiths, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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