Police Harrasment, hhhmmmm???

Last night at around 11:00pm I received a frantic call from a member of our LGBT community complaining that he was being harassed by police men who claim that he was a “number 2” (a gay man). Even while we were on the phone I overheard the men in the background which according to the caller turned out to be 5 of them hurling derogatory remarks, the likes of which amounted to that the bible gives them the right to remove gays, among other things.

Their comments however became more formal when I asked the young man if they were wearing their service vest numbers as required by law, the young man repeated my question audibly for them to hear and they became more formal in their approach for a time……I guess on the account that they felt some action was going to follow from this. Interestingly the so called police officers were in an unmarked vehicle, a white Toyota Corolla licenced number 0023 EW as described to me by the young man.

The formalities soon died down and the young man foolishly in error became boisterous and hurled expletives at the men after they seized his car documents, saying he was a “fish” (gay) and demanded that he open the vehicle for them to search, the exchange continued for about a half a minute then the officers said they were going to arrest the caller for use of indecent language (curse words which are often used by officers themselves to citizens), they ordered him into his vehicle without returning his papers and demanded that he follow them to the Police station, all this happened after they physically removed him from his vehicle before the call was made.

By now, 4:17secs into the call (I checked my time on the screen) I asked the young man again to look for any identifying numbers that can be used in case the situation got out of hand. He could find none as they weren’t wearing their numbered vests as the law requires while on duty or on a patrol. I instructed him to obey and go to the station with them but not to hang up the phone which as it turns out was an earpiece. He did just that, as he was nearby the station based on his description of where the original encounter took place.

They finally asked who he was speaking to on the phone so long and he said JFLAG proudly, he then said everyone started being formal to him again and they told him how to get released from the station – a citizen with a valid ID or a Justice of the Peace to present themselves at the station to declare his identity.

A little networking followed from my part and he got released soon after by volunteers.

However this incident, minor as it seems is a clear indication that all is not well inside our Police ranks and with allegation after allegation of members of the force involved in illegal activities, chief of which bribery from motorists to destroy or avoid traffic tickets, this in a way does not surprise me and does not auger well for us a nation on a whole, gay or straight.

This is a cause for concern.

(Staff member)


Author: GLBTQ Jamaica Moderator

Activist and concerned gay man in Jamaica with over 19 years experience in advocacy and HIV/AIDS prevention work, LGBT DJ since 1996.

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