Trinidad – ‘Strangers’ bribe alleged police abuse victim to drop case
PORT OF SPAIN –– Ralph Andre Lewis, 22, an alleged victim of police abuse, claims he is being offered as much as $125,000 to drop the case against eight police officers assigned to the Sangre Grande Police Station.
Lewis sustained burns to the genital area and his buttocks after he was doused with hot water, allegedly by a woman police officer while at the police station. He was also badly beaten.
Lewis’s incident was initially highlighted on the Crime Watch programme with host Ian Alleyne, on March 2, one week after the alleged incident took place.
Speaking with the T&T Guardian yesterday, Lewis, of Coronation Road, Sangre Grande, questioned why the investigations into his incident were taking so long and said he had been living in fear since it happened.
“I have been fearful for my life because now I don’t have freedom of movement like before and I always have to be watching over my back. It is sad to say and I don’t know why the police and them have not been charged yet,” Lewis said.
On February 24, Lewis said he went into the Sangre Grande Police Station after he learnt that he was wanted by police. It was not until the next day, having been forced to stay at the station, that he was badly beaten and burnt.
“The officers started to question me about a series of house breakings and larceny and I told them that I did not know what they were talking about and that was when they beat me real bad. Then a woman police officer put some water to hot in a microwave and then throw it on me, on my private part and buttocks,” Lewis said.
He added that he was allowed to leave without being charged and went to seek medical treatment at the Sangre Grande District Hospital but because of the severity of the injuries he was referred to the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex in Mount Hope.
“I went there and got further attention and treatment by a plastic surgeon. I was in extreme pain and still enduring pains. It was hard for me to even urinate when the incident had just occurred but now I am healing,” he added.
Lewis said since he lodged a report at the station against the officers he had been frequently approached by several “strange” persons allegedly offering bribes.
“People who have never spoken to me in life coming and offering me money to drop the charges against the officers but I am not going to fall for that. The last figure I got was $150,000. A police officer came to my uncle and offered to give me that but my uncle said no and he went the next day to lodge a report of bribe. I am going to pursue this because I was abused for no reason by the hands of these officers,” Lewis said.
A source at the Sangre Grande Police Station said he was aware of the incident and that investigations were ongoing. He said that when those were completed a file would be sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions for further instructions.