The Club Matter – Unprofessional Police Behaviour Must Stop

The following appeared in the Gleaner recently and I am not comfortable with the editor’s decision to call the writer a disappointed scammer as if to suggest the persons held at the recent raid in St Ann at a birthday event were all scammers in attendance. This has the looks of a certain Superintendent last year who castigated the gay community as scammers hence leading to an apology that came from the police high command.

Aren’t persons innocent until proven guilty?

Why did an entire event had to be shut down just to find supposed scammers?

Do the cops have a clear idea of who they are actually looking for? it doesnt seem so to me

I feel that the community is being used as scapegoats as well in a vieled homophobic move, yes there maybe guilty parties amongst the LGBT community but why broad brush an entire set of patrons at an event?

Here is the letter to the paper non the less, see what you make of it.

The Editor Sir:

I FEEL moved to give a detainee’s response to your article of Sunday, July 8, 2012 titled ‘Scammers party in drag’. It certainly appeared to have been an intelligence-driven operation as the raid was conducted with the support of the army. Further, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Leon Clunis came and hand-picked the persons who, in my view, he came for in the first place. For the record, this numbered fewer than 10 and all other persons were released. If this was in fact intelligence-driven, why then were all the 100-plus persons detained and transported to the station for “processing”? Was it a ‘name-and-shame’ moment? SSP Clunis did instruct persons not to hide from the cameras.

I find that rather interesting as the senior superintendent was the one insisting that persons should not hide and, in fact, instructed persons to stand up and remove the covering from their heads. I recall him saying, “Why unu a hide, unu fi proud a weh unu be.” Ok, so he is not interested; for what purpose then was he facilitating the photographing and videotaping of the individuals to the extent that he was using/abusing his authority to instruct persons not to hide from the camera? Why then were the officers asking individuals questions like, what role do you play? Do your parents know that you are gay?

Operational protocol

Mr Commissioner, does operational protocol allow for aspects of operations to be videotaped by police personnel? I ask this because, according to SSP Clunis, the police is not interested in one’s sexuality or sexual preference, yet an officer armed with a camcorder and flashlight took video footage of the persons lying on the ground in the building.

I must commend the few officers (from both the JDF and the JCF) who acted in a professional manner throughout the operation. I recall seeing the disgust on one officer’s face at the manner in which another officer was behaving. It would appear, though, that the senior superintendent and his team need to better review operational procedures and ensure that all members of the team understand what these are, as well as what their individual roles are in the process.

Our police force needs to move away from media hypes and focus on real crime fighting.

DISAPPOINTED SCAMMER

Jaysean97@hotmail.com

Editor’s Note: The pen name, “Disappointed Scammer” was inserted by the editor because the letter writer requested anonymity.

Meanwhile

A proprietor of a nightclub in St Ann who was hauled before the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate’s Court on Friday for fraud was granted $150,000 bail.

He is Lorindo Powell from Kingston 13, who has been charged with conspiracy to defraud, obtaining money by means of false defence, conspiracy to defraud, possession of criminal property and involving in transaction that includes criminal property.

Powell is to return to court on September 6, when the matter will be mentioned for plea and case management hearing.

Allegations are that the accused conspired with other persons and defrauded a 75-year-old woman in the United States of several thousand dollars.

The court heard that the accused told the victim that she won US$5 million and she was to send money to him to process her winnings.

Sexual orientation

In applying for bail, Powell’s attorney told the court that his client desperately needs bail as he was beaten by other inmates while being detained because of his sexual orientation.

“Your Honour, I went to look for the accused while he was detained and the amount of “blanks” that were fired at me, if those were live rounds I would have been a dead man today,” the attorney told the court jokingly.

As a condition of Powell’s bail, he is to surrender his travel documents and report to the Hunts Bay Police Station on Mondays and Thursdays between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.

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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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