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Apr 9, 2002

Police and residents clash on Mayflower St.

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If you were depressed by the sight of police officers having to fight off angry footballers, then this next story will not make you any happier.

Janelle Chanona, Reporting

In the heat of this afternoon, the quiet of Mayflower Street was shattered by gunfire. When we arrived on the scene, heavily armed police officers were still in the area, believed to be searching for a suspect, as well as illegal weapons and drugs.

But around 2:00 p.m. things began to get out of hand. Residents allege the cops fired a shot aimed at a young man, but never did detain him. Who they did detain was this fourteen-year-old girl who police held after she entered one of the homes they were searching. When police were ready to leave, they tried to take the minor with them, presumably on charges of obstruction. But her friends and family demanded that a female officer be present.

Mayflowers St. Resident

“Because da wah woman da fu do the that, da no wah man fu do that.”

Officer Holding the Handcuffed Girl

“Relax yuself, da see di haul iself.”

Most of the crowd refused to allow her to be taken.

And a sad, ugly scene unfolds…one that threatens to escalate into bloodshed…

(Police drags girl towards vehicle)

As the throng of people approaches the van, the police officers are forced to make a decision…get her into the van by whatever means necessary or bow to the will of the crowd… In the end, they let her go.

(Crowd jumps up and down cheering)

The law enforcement officials make a hasty exit but to be sure, they will be back here soon.

Sandra Uter, Mayflower Street Resident

“Everyday they deh back yah di harass people, every earthly day. I no know weh deh di look fa cause they no tell you nothing. At least if they seh they seh they come and deh look fu somebody yu no mind. But they just come and just run in and deh dig up yu place and that totally wrong.”

For the young woman police had planned on detaining, the whole incident was sparked by what happened during the search of her boyfriend’s home.

Stephanie Louis

“I not even tell they nothing check, I just look fu walk enna the house and one ah deh seh, “Weh you going, weh you going.” I seh, “How you mean weh I going, this da my boy house.” One ah deh push me and I push ah back. And he grab my hand from backway and bend up my hand. I tell ah let me go and me and deh had big fight da back ya. One ah deh work with ten dollars out ah my hand. But yu know weh I got fi tell he, he need that. They just handcuff me and talk bout they wah ker me da station.”

Across the street, another set of women was objecting to the behaviour of the police officers.

Stephanie Bood, Ebony Street Resident

“I me think da somebody mi di come shoot up enna the house. I di seh da somebody di play with me, when they seh, Police! Police! Police! Frighten we.”

Janelle Chanona

“And then they kicked down the door?”

Stephanie Bood

“I no even know till my sista come out and seh how they kick open di door. See di piece a board right down deh.”

While the police public relations campaign continues to stress the importance of community relations, it’s clear that not every community is making progress. Reporting for News 5, I am Janelle Chanona.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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