Exclusive | Linstead vendors and child in pain after alleged beating by officers

Four people, including a 12-year-old boy and a woman, said they are still in pain days after being beaten by law-enforcers on Market Street in Linstead, St. Catherine.

The incidents unfolded last week Friday and Saturday during a massive clamp-down on illegal vending on Market Street.

The clampdown was done by the St. Catherine Municipal Corporation police, along with members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force.

The persons in pain have accused the officers of using excessive force. Some of them were captured on camera resisting arrest.

The first incident, which unfolded on Friday, May 7, involved a 12-year-old boy.

He told The Beacon that he went into Linstead town to purchase a pack of soap powder for his mother, Cordella Perkins, who allowed him to speak with our news team.

The minor added that, while in Linstead town, he ended up hanging out with his adult brother, Kevon Reid, who is a handcart vendor.

He further explained that, when the officers appeared on the scene, one of them held him.

“Him drape mi up and carry mi in the corner and den box mi,” the child claimed.

He complained about feeling pain in his lower back, having a difficulty eating, and was also vomiting after coming in contact with pepper-spray used by the officers. Since the incident, the child has been medically examined.

The second incident started during the confrontation between the child and the law enforcers. It involved the child’s vendor brother, Reid, also known as ‘Chiney’.

Reid said, when he saw his little brother being slapped, he was busy trying to secure his goods that were being seized by the officers.

He said he left the goods and tried to find out why his brother was being roughed up.

He added that the officers ordered him to move, but he insisted that he wanted to know what was happening to his little brother.

“One of them flick over mi cart pon mi foot,” Reid said, adding that the officers then pepper-sprayed him.

“Mi never get pepper-spray yet, and so it feel like mi blind. Same time mi run off and drop, get up back and end up in a clothes store,” Reid recalled. “Some of them (officers) start beat mi and tell mi not to resist.”

Reid said he was not resisting arrest; he was only reacting to the pepper-spray that he was feeling in his eyes.

Reid eventually was handcuffed and taken to Linstead Police Station where he was arrested and charged. He is being accused of exposing goods for sale and resisting arrest.

Reid stated that, since the incident, he has been unable to walk properly, and unable to resume vending.

“Right now, mi can hardly walk,” he said yesterday. He stated that, like his little brother, he has undergone medical examination.

It is not the first time that Reid is ending up in a clash with officers on Market Street. Last year, he was compensated after a Municipal police was caught on camera destroying his handcart and goods. At that time, the demolition of his handcart sparked wide-spread outrage.

In the meantime, a third male, Omar Young, is complaining that he too has been left in pain after being beaten during the operation by law enforcers on Market Street last week.

He indicated that, while he was on the street on Saturday, pandemonium broke out when the officers tried to arrest a female vendor.

Young said, during the chaos, he saw an incident developing between one of his friends and an officer. He stated that, while he tried to restrain his friend, the officer started to use pepper-spray.

Young added that, when the pepper-spray caught his eyes, he began to run away.

Moments later, one of the officers saw him drinking a liquor.

Young explained; “Him come down to mi with him gun and seh ‘don’t move’. Him draw mi inna mi shirt and seh, ‘a shoot mi fi shoot yuh an kill yuh’.

“While him a drag mi him a seh, ‘a kill mi a goh kill yuh; kill mi a goh kill yuh’,” Young further said.

He added that the officer’s comments agitated him, and a tussle developed between them.

“Him pepper-spray mi, and dem start beat mi fi goh in the [police] van,” Young said, adding that the officers kicked him, beat him with a baton, and held him tightly around the neck.

Young stated that the officers took him to Linstead Police Station where they charged him with resisting arrest. He said he was not vending at the time of the incident.

Meanwhile, the 29-year-old vendor and mother of three children, Shernette Riley, who was involved in the major tussle with officers on Saturday, told The Beacon this morning that she is still feeling pain especially in the left hand and chest.

She claimed that the officers beat and pepper-sprayed her, and seized her goods valued at more than $300,000. The officers also arrested and laid seven charges against Riley. The charges include resisting arrest and illegal vending.

So far, the St. Catherine Municipal Corporation and the Jamaica Constabulary Force have not commented publicly on the incidents.


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