The Police Force has issued a statement on the incident that involved Dean Jonas, former minister of gender affairs and social transformation, and a police officer last week.
Reports say that officers were at Jonas’ Scotts Hill home to investigate an alleged domestic matter when the situation became volatile, leading to Jonas being arrested and later charged.
According to the police administration, it is aware of the public’s reactions and concerns since the incident occurred. Therefore, it promises residents that the matter will be fully investigated by senior officials.
The statement from the Force says that, on Thursday, February 23, the police went to Jonas’ home to make inquiries into a report.
However, Jonas has accused the officers of trespassing on his property and demanding the hand-over of his son without the authority of a court order.
According to the former minister, he considered the officers’ request to be an attack on his family, and so, since he deemed it to be unlawful, he refused to comply.
Jonas, who is facing charges of battery on police; resisting arrest; disorderly conduct; and making use of threatening language, is expected to make his first appearance in the St. John’s Magistrates Court today, February 27.
Video footage of the incident – believed to have been captured by a body camera – went into circulation on Thursday night. It has garnered mixed reaction from the public, with some bashing the police for the way the situation was handled and not leaving Jonas’ premises when ordered to do so.
In others’ opinion, Jonas was too emotional; he should have remained calm and provided the police with the court documents he claimed to have, they say. And some residents blame both parties, saying that neither dealt with the matter well.
Some legal experts claim that Jonas’ constitutional rights were breached, since the officers, when ordered to leave his premises, should have done so and obtained a warrant from a magistrate. They say the police need to be properly trained in how to handle situations such as these.
Jonas also feels that his rights were violated; and, reportedly, he has hired a team of lawyers, including former Police Commissioner Wendel Robinson, to fight his case.
He is also threatening to sue the officer in question; Commissioner of Police Atlee Rodney; and Attorney-General Steadroy “Cutie” Benjamin.
In the meantime, however, the police administration is assuring the public that “the police force remains committed to providing the best professional policing services to the people of this nation.”