ONLINE READERS' COMMENT: Disgruntled visitor dissatisfied with police conductWednesday, April 29, 2015
I wish to make a complaint about an incident that happened on Tuesday at approximately 8:00 pm.
While on my way back from visiting family members in Portland, myself and other family members were stopped by two traffic police officers and their inspector just outside of Falmouth.
We were stopped based on trumped up charges of failing to stop and driving without necessary documentation for a hired vehicle, knowing that you cannot obtain a hired vehicle without having a licence.
One of the officers asked my sister, the registered driver, to step out of the vehicle and asked her where she was from and for identification documents, aggressively.
I was in the process of stepping out of the vehicle to support my traumatised sister when the officer pointed his M16 assault rifle at my person and told me not to move.
He then changed his mind and told me to exit the vehicle to be searched. They asked us if we had any contraband that we would like to declare. We told them no.
He proceeded to search my other family members. They then proceeded to search the vehicle, however, what I found amazing was the fact that he did not handcuff us or arrest us.
They then accused my sister and I of stopping and swapping over to avoid detection. By this time I could tell they wanted a monetary payment.
So we were told that we would have to pay a ticket fine and for the vehicle to be towed while we were escorted to the police station in Falmouth, while warning us that if we didn't we would be held overnight. My two cousins were asked to remain with the vehicle until it was towed.
My sister and I were put in a holding cell, threatened with court action and 24-hour detainment despite us informing the officers that we had all the necessary documentation in Montego Bay.
They ignored us and continued to question us about our occupation and where in England we were from. I refused to answer their questions but gave them my passport to prove my nationality.
They then instructed us that we would have to pay a J$3,500 ticket fine and the cost of towing the vehicle at J$15,000.
We refused to pay the J$15,000 but asked them to issue a ticket so we could pay the fine at the tax office the next day. They refused our request and told us we would have to go to court.
My sister called my mother so she could bring the necessary documentation and she had to drive all the way from Montego Bay. She eventually arrived at 10:43 pm and produced the documents deemed necessary.
At this point my family became anxious as my sister and I were due to travel back to England the next day. So we agreed to pay the charge for towing the vehicle to an alleged government contractor who refused to state his name or the company for which he was working.
I am bitterly disappointed and extremely upset by the gross misconduct by the officers and will actively seek to instruct people not to come back to Jamaica because the police are despotic, deluded, ignorant, bully boys. I can see now why tourism is diminishing because if these officers are indicative of the rest of the police force, then Jamaica is in a sorry state.
I am demanding:
1. Reimbursement of our money
2. Written clarification of your traffic laws and violations code
3. A written apology
4. Investigation into police brutality and corruption
Otherwise, you will leave me no choice but to go to the police commissioner and the national press.
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