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Jun 25, 2015

PG Police Refute Allegations of Physical Abuse During Early Morning Ops

Simeon Alvarez

Following the arraignment of the group of eleven, allegations of physical abuse by personnel from the Special Patrol Unit are being refuted by Superintendent Simeon Alvarez, Officer Commanding Punta Gorda Police Formation.  During an early morning raid on Santa Cruz village on Wednesday, a pair of detainees was reportedly manhandled and injured to various parts of their bodies.  According to Alvarez, the operation was timed so as to successfully apprehend the farmers before heading out to their respective farms for the day.  The senior officer did not comment on Wednesday, but today, he told News Five that the only person who complained about discomfort was Cristina Coc.  She has been suffering from the flu since the beginning of the week, but refused medical attention when offered.

 

On the Phone: Supt. Simeon Alvarez, O.C., Punta Gorda Police

“Sometime around 3:30 a.m. yesterday, Punta Gorda Police Formation conducted a predawn operation in the village of Santa Cruz in reference to a report made by Rupert Myles.  And as a result of that twelve residents, eleven residents sorry, were apprehended and brought to the Punta Gorda Police Station pending charges of unlawful imprisonment, aggravated assault and common assault.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“Okay.  Now there are concerns with regard to the manner in which these men were arrested and detained.  Some of them were not allowed to fully cloth themselves before being taken out of their homes.  Can you explain to us what transpired at that point?”

 

On the Phone: Supt. Simeon Alvarez

“Okay.  It was a predawn operation, we all are aware that the residents of Santa Cruz a majority of them are farmers.  Farmers they usually go to farm at an early time so we decided to make that operation as early as 3:30-4:00 in the morning and they were brought to the station, as I had mentioned earlier and they were detained, processed and then later on they were taken before the magistrate’s court.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“Could this have been done in another way, seeing as though it was the Alcalde’s directive to which these men acted upon?  Couldn’t you guys have approached the Alcalde with a warrant, explain to him that you were looking for these men and have them surrender themselves either to you guys in Santa Cruz or in Punta Gorda, as opposed to storming the village at 3:30 in the morning?  It’s just a matter of procedure I’m asking.”

 

On the Phone: Supt. Simeon Alvarez

“No. No. No.  The police, on the strength of a warrant, we don’t have to go to speak to anybody of that nature to go and get the persons them involved.  We just decided to go in that direction.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“Okay.  In terms of the account that you have heard from the lawyer for these individuals, as an officer, as someone who was involved in the planning of the operation, what are your comments or what are your thoughts on what has been said?”

 

On the Phone: Supt. Simeon Alvarez

“Well, the allegation made, I strongly deny that.  First of all, the attorney, one Monica Coc, who is the sister of Cristina Coc, she was at the station at the initial stage of their detention.  She was given the privilege to speak to the detainees individually.  She was even given a room where she could have communicated in private with them and during that process I personally had to speak with Monica Coc because she wanted to be a part of everything that the police were doing during the processing and because of that we were unable to do the processing in a very fast manner.  So I had to intervene by telling her step aside, she would get the opportunity to speak with the detainees as soon as they had been processed and that was done.  No privilege was taken from them and during that ordeal, after they were taken to court the information that came to my office is that they had complained that they were beaten up by the police which I strongly believe was not the case.”

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