WHAT was supposed to be a trip back to Jamaica to rekindle ties with family turned out to be a source of major stress and concern for Damion Edwards who is now crying foul at police officers based in St Catherine.
Damion’s father, 68-year-old Livingston Edwards, reportedly had an altercation with his niece at his home in Dover Castle, Redwood, in the parish. When the woman got the police involved the senior Edwards ended up with a broken leg, a damaged knee, and in now in need of surgery.
However, the police noted that the matter will be going before the court and insisted that the senior Edwards, whom they have described as a repeat aggressor, was boisterous towards the officers. The man, a building contractor, was charged with assaulting a constable, resisting arrest, and disorderly conduct.
Two other family members — 59-year-old Alphonso Edwards and 43-year-old Felecia Edwards — were also charged with obstructing the police. The matter is set for the St Catherine Parish Court on Wednesday, February 8, 2023.
“He was at home about 9:30 pm on January 3 and some officers came at his house and wanted to arrest him. He did not know what for, and tried to find out the nature of the arrest. They did not want to say much about it,” Damion told the Jamaica Observer last Thursday.
“That was when the officers put him to the ground and beat him severely. His right leg is broken and the cap on his knee is completely apart so now he has to do a surgery to get it pinned and try to put it back in pace. They used their baton to beat him severely,” the frustrated son continued.
Damion, discombobulated, maintained that the police should’ve never allowed the situation to escalate to that level since they were dealing with a senior citizen.
“My father is 68 — that’s an old man. To beat a man like that to the point where his knee busted open and bleeding severely is wrong. Last night when I saw him, he was bleeding from the knee cap. That shows how bad the damage is,” he told the Sunday Observer.
“They beat him and then they took him straight to the hospital, and even while at the hospital when he was not able to walk. The officers were not willing to assist him to get out of the vehicle; it was civilians who had to assist him out of the vehicle to get medical attention. They [police] refused to assist him.
Deputy superintendent of police (DSP) in charge of Linstead Zone, Sharmitch Barnett told the Sunday Observer that when the police are called to any particular incident they have to act in their best interest and in the interest of those who would’ve made their complaints.
“All he [Edwards] would’ve needed to have done is to follow the instructions of the police. The police were asking him to come to the station. I know that my police officers acted in a just manner and that they will be able to account for their action in court,” she said.
“If they did not take action they would’ve been mobbed there by the family members. I was told that the persons were eager to get the police out of the space, and the man in a known aggressor. It is not the first time that complaints would’ve been made against him.”
Barnett stressed that the situation “is quite sad” because officers don’t want to go to any incident and have to be reacting in that particular way.
“But again, the police are trained and whenever they come upon resistance, especially resistance of that nature, they are going to take action. It is very unfortunate, especially because it’s a family incident.”
Barnett further debunked claims that the police refused to assist the senior Edwards to receive care at the hospital.
“That was not the case. You can throw a stone to the hospital so he was given medical attention.
Meanwhile, the police said the senior Edwards’ niece made a report against him for assault occasioning bodily harm and assault at common law.
However, Damion’s version of events differ.
“She broke something for him and he went to talk to her about it and she was all up in his face; so what he told me that he did is use his hand to push her away. She then went to the police station and reported that he attacked her and that he slapped her in the chest and that she was in a lot of pain,” he told the Sunday Observer.
“I haven’t seen her or heard from her but all I know is I need some justice. I just need this to be heard. I think those police officers acted in a very unprofessional manner, and the way they treated my father was brutal and unacceptable. To beat an elderly man to that point, that has to be terrible. That is distasteful.”