Couple in shock as Tobago police kick in wrong door

An el­der­ly cou­ple of Ma­son Hall, To­ba­go, say they have been left trau­ma­tised fol­low­ing an ear­ly morn­ing or­deal with po­lice of­fi­cers of the To­ba­go Task Force.

Eu­ck­lyn Chap­man, 64, and her hus­band, Ce­cil, 69, of Cro­ton Lane, said peo­ple dressed as po­lice of­fi­cers showed up at their res­i­dence around 4 am yes­ter­day and re­quest­ed en­try, but when they protest­ed and asked for the search war­rant, the of­fi­cers broke down their front door val­ued $2,200 and gained ac­cess.

The cou­ple who both suf­fer from hy­per­ten­sion said on­ly one po­lice of­fi­cer out of a par­ty of five made an ef­fort to show them his po­lice iden­ti­fi­ca­tion card, while the search war­rant was on­ly shown to them af­ter they forcibly en­tered the premis­es, on­ly to re­alise that the in­di­vid­ual did not live in that area of the house.

"As I was in my bed I heard the ruc­tion and so on and the dog get­ting on and I recog­nised that my wife came out, so I even­tu­al­ly got up and walked out and to my great sur­prise, as I stepped down there I heard they kick in the door, so I ac­tu­al­ly froze.

"They kicked on the door and just smashed it in with me stand­ing right there. The of­fi­cers then came in and I asked them 'what's this all about and do you have a war­rant?' He then showed me a pa­per and as I was about to hold it to look at it the of­fi­cer said no that I couldn't touch it... I was able to make out the name and the ad­dress and I told them the per­son whom they were look­ing for doesn't live here, he even­tu­al­ly asked 'where does he live?' And I said he lives down­stairs....I al­most faint­ed right there and I lat­er had to take med­ica­tion cause my blood pres­sure went sky high," Chap­man said.

The cou­ple said they were law-abid­ing cit­i­zens, the per­son the po­lice was look­ing for was, in fact, their grand­son who is known to the po­lice and who lives in a sep­a­rate dwelling area down­stairs the house with his par­ents. Chap­man said the en­tire or­deal could have been avoid­ed if the of­fi­cers had shown them some form of iden­ti­fi­ca­tion

"When they gave the first kick, the door stood up and then they gave it a few more kicks and then the glass and wood and every­thing went fly­ing...All we are say­ing, give us your prop­er ID and the door will be opened, read the war­rant to us so we will know what it is. Had he read the war­rant be­fore en­ter­ing, we would have been able to tell him up front that per­son doesn't live here...It was for my grand­son, but he doesn't live here, they live down­stairs and their en­trance is down there," she said.

She al­so said a snif­fer dog was brought in­to the house to search for dan­ger­ous drugs, but none was found. How­ev­er, she claimed the dog uri­nat­ed on her couch.

The Chap­mans said they have re­port­ed the in­ci­dent to the po­lice, but were scold­ed about "stall tac­tics". They al­so in­tend to re­port the in­ci­dent to the Po­lice Com­plaints Au­thor­i­ty.

Se­nior Supt: Com­ply with of­fi­cers per­form­ing their du­ties

Con­tact­ed for a com­ment on the in­ci­dent, Act­ing Se­nior Su­per­in­ten­dent Jef­frey George con­firmed that his of­fi­cers ex­e­cut­ed a dan­ger­ous drug search war­rant at the home of the Chap­mans af­ter re­ceiv­ing in­tel­li­gence and fol­low­ing the com­ple­tion of sev­er­al hours of sur­veil­lance which in­di­cat­ed that crim­i­nal ac­tiv­i­ty was tak­ing place at the prop­er­ty.

He said it was con­firmed that the per­son named in the war­rant lived on the premis­es, but hav­ing knocked and called out po­lice, the in­di­vid­u­als re­fused en­try. He is call­ing on cit­i­zens to com­ply with mem­bers of the Po­lice Ser­vice while per­form­ing their du­ties.

- by Casandra Thompson-Forbes

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