“I support and applaud the police for getting the crime situation under control. Crime has always been there but it went overboard. I am 100 percent against crime,” said Melissa Moses in an interview with the STAR. The soca artist, known as Q-pid made it clear she supports law enforcement and their efforts. However, she was upset at what she considers blatant abuse of power by some members of the Royal St Lucia Police Force.
Moses related events on behalf of her 34-year-old brother who claims he was a victim of police brutality. As a result of threats directed at him and his family by members of the police force, Moses’ brother is apprehensive to go public with his experience. On the other hand, Moses is not easily swayed. She is calling on the authorities to address this matter.
Moses told the STAR, “On Friday afternoon (March 25) my brother came home to tell me the police had a random search on the block. He usually limes by the La Clery main road, not at the back in the ghetto. Since we were small we used to lime there. There were four men who came in a private vehicle. Another guy on the block said he knew one of the men to be a police officer. The men searched them one by one. My brother was towards the end of the line. An officer spoke to him asking him if he was not afraid. My brother said no because he has nothing to hide. The officer took him to the back of the van and gave him a couple of slaps.
“On Saturday (March 26) I was home. My brother usually comes home around 8pm or 9pm. He got home around 11:30 that night. He was injured. He told me the same four officers came back and took him to some bushes in Carellie. My brother said they were tormenting him and ridiculing him. Then they starting bursting shots near his feet. He was jumping around. He told me he honestly thought they would have killed him. When they were done they threatened him, they shot him and left him right there. He had to walk back to La Clery.”
According to Moses, on Friday the men arrived in a private vehicle. They did not identify themselves as police officer and they were dressed in plain clothes. The only reason she believes they were cops was because another man who was on the block was familiar with one of the men.
She expressed her disappointment with the police but says she still stands by them. Said Moses, “We, as artists, are trying to do our part to keep the peace through our songs and videos. But when you hear things like that it makes you ask, why would the police do such a thing? I have a lot of police associates. I still support the police and the work that they do. However, if their strategy is to instill fear in the public, it will not help their cause. It will only make things worse.”
Moses said she supported Acting Police Commissioner Vernon Francois’ statements when he was first installed in his position and said that he would make it his duty to weed out the corrupt elements of the force. She is holding him to his words.
“We have filed a statement at the Police Complaints Unit. We know the license plate of the vehicle the men drove and we also have a few of their names. I am leaving it up to the Commissioner of Police and those in charge to do the right thing regardless of who it involves whether it’s my brother, a minister, a lawyer, an officer or just the ordinary guy on the street,” she said.
The singer told the STAR she is uncomfortable with the police stereotyping citizens, especially those with dreadlocks. Said Moses, “Not everybody on the street with locks or that has a gold chain or that limes on the block is a criminal. The police need to understand that.”
Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of Operations, Moses Charles, spoke to the STAR Wednesday saying he has not seen or heard anything officially about the alleged police assault. However, he did hear of the incident via the media and through other means and says he is checking into it.
Said Charles, “Usually in reports of this nature, the Major Crime Unit is activated. Most times the report, even before it reaches the police, it’s on the media. It can compromise an investigation. If you feel your rights have been violated then go the Commissioner through the Complaints Unit. Police shootings do get priority.
“We have a strong structure to deal with police brutality. It has been there for a while. There is no specific time frame for complaints to reach the Commissioner, but it does.”