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Aug 12, 1998

Beating of Bze City man signals escalation of political violence

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Although by all accounts the political activities surrounding yesterday’s nomination day were peaceful, it now appears that in the aftermath of the excitement the 1998 campaign has experienced its first act of serious violence. Patrick Jones has the story.

From his hospital bed at Karl Heusner Memorial, Dennis Flowers recalls what was for him a terrifying encounter with some neighborhood residents. Flowers told News Five that he was minding his own business around five o’clock Tuesday evening, just outside the campaign headquarters of Ray Lightburn when he was set upon by a small group who beat him with everything but the kitchen sink.

Dennis Flowers, Beating Victim

“Well, I was coming from across our office, went to the snack shop across the street when I was approached by one of these guys, who I know works for Minister Finnegan. Came to me and ask me if I wanna fight. I don’t fight over politics; I do my fighting with my “X”.

So I continued to the restaurant when he followed me and pushed me in the chest and seh put up your hand. I tell dem, I no have no quarrel with you. Then they moved this bottle that was on the table and attempted to wop me with the bottle. I boxed him and the bottle fell out of his hand and then me and him ina tackle. By this time I can see other guys who work for Minister Finnegan run coming along with a girl who works from off the block who works, campaigning for Minister Finnegan. Then they start hitting me with boards, pipes and bottles.”

Flowers’ account of the incident is corroborated by two other people who said that they saw the whole episode from beginning to end. Frightened for their safety, they chose not to appear on camera.

Witness #1

“The victim come buy a beer then I saw wah bwai ina U.D.P. shirt and red pants come cross and start point-up ina ih face. I just turn round from the man to get the beer for him and when I turn round back fi look pahn dey I sih bally di point-up ina ih face and man haul the pint and di bwai tek weh the pint back fah ah. And da so they start beat-up ah.

After that dey beat ah pan da man car over di upholstery place deh, move and gawn ina di man place deh and gawn fight wid ah. The man try use self defense and gawn pick up wah board. When time di rest of dem sih di man pick up the board, six or seven of them start crowd the man and one of dem jump ina ih face.”

Witness #2

“The young lady Michelle, lash ah cross ih face with wah bottle a Belikin Beer. I seh to Michelle, why ih wop “Dickie” like that because “Dickie” no di do uno nothing. She, Michelle seh like this, “Dickie” abstract ah so she had to wop “Dickie”. She had wah cup ina ih hand and ih get wah cut ina ih hand. I tell ah mek it go da hospital fi dey stitch if finger, she seh she no gwin da hospital because she no wah police hold she.”

The witnesses say that although there were a number of people observing the incident, there was very little that anyone could do to come to Flower’s rescue.

Witness #1

“Some people try help, but da too much people mi deh pahn ah di beat-up ah.”

Q: “You saw when it started, how many people beat him up?”

Witness #1

“Cayn tell yuh because ih start wid one and then wah second one come, then wah third one, then like four or five more come after that. I really can’t tell you how much of them but wah lady mi deh ina it.”

The police were seen in the area this afternoon, apparently trying to round up those who are being accused of the attack. The victim, however, claims to know the who and why of the brutal beating.

Q: “So why would a group of guys just out of the blue attack you?”

Dennis Flowers

“While I was on the ground between consciousness and unconsciousness, I could look up and one of the guys them repeat a couple, two-three time. He said, let this be a message from Mr. Finnegan to Mr. Ray Lightburn.

It doesn’t scare me. It doesn’t surprise me. Anything that they do it doesn’t surprise me; I expect this from him. I expect this from you, Mr. Finnegan.”

Patrick Jones for News Five.

U.D.P. Mesopotamia candidate Michael Finnegan told the news media today that he had no knowledge of the incident and certainly could never instigate or condone that kind of activity. During Tuesday’s nomination process all the candidates observed by News Five appeared to make special efforts urging their supporters to keep the peace.

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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