A Fall or beating?

Family disputes police claim that man fell, suffered multiple head wounds during arrest

BY ARTHUR HALL
Editor-at-Large
halla@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

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A mother is demanding answers after an expletive-laced altercation between her son and members of a police team manning a checkpoint on Pretoria Road in Kingston 13 left him nursing multiple wounds and needing surgery to repair a broken jaw.

The son, 31-year-old Ricardo Humphrey, is now a patient at Kingston Public Hospital and the family say the police claim that he fell and hit his face while resisting arrest.

“I am giving the police the benefit of the doubt and accept that he fell and hit his face. But when I visited him in hospital yesterday I was asked to purchase a pin because his jawbone is broken, his nose bridge is broken, four of his front teeth were knocked out, and some of his jaw teeth are now loose. So the idea that he was injured from a fall doesn't make any sense,” said Humphrey's brother Kimorley.

According to the family, about 3 o'clock Saturday morning, Ricardo was in a heated exchange with a woman at his house on Pretoria Road, metres from a police checkpoint in the St Andrew South police division, where a state of emergency was imposed on Sunday.

The family said a member of the police team accosted Humphrey and chided him for his use of indecent language and an argument developed.

It is alleged that the policeman slapped Humphrey across the face before putting him in handcuffs and indicating that he was being charged for the use of the indecent language and resisting arrest.

Donna Humphrey said she was at her cookshop on Saturday morning when she was approached by a team of policemen who inquired if she was Ricardo's mother. She said that when she responded in the affirmative she was told she should accompany them with a utility bill and a passport-sized picture to bail him.

According to Donna, she was initially taken to Denham Town Police Station and later to the zone of special operations base in Denham Town where she was told that he had been offered bail in the sum of $20,000.

“All this time mi never know that him was in the hospital. Is when the next police say to mi, 'Yuh a go up a di hospital?' is that time mi know. But how di police look mi see say something nuh right, even though dem tell mi say him drop and lick him face,” the woman said.

“When mi reach the hospital and see him face mi start say somebody couldn't drunk and drop and dem face look so. Mi start say a definitely beat dem beat him,” she added, as she noted that her son became agitated when he saw one of the policemen who took her to the hospital.

The mother alleged that Ricardo, who had trouble speaking, pointed to one of the cops and said, “Yuh bwoy, wha yuh do mi so fah? Wha yuh do mi suh fah? Yuh nuh get no pickney? Yuh hangle mi like how you tek up the garbage and throw in the rubbish truck and mi nuh do nutten. Mi a nuh tief, mi a nuh robber, mi a nuh gunman, mi a hard-working man, and look how yuh do me!”

Up to late yesterday the family had not reported the matter to the Independent Commission of Investigations, but Kimorley told the Jamaica Observer it would be done shortly.

Head of the Kingston West police division Superintendent Howard Chambers said he was not aware of the case but would investigate the matter.

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