A former police Inspector, accusing cops of mistreating him during a Vieux Fort operation, has threatened legal action over the incident.
Winston Bastien, currently an Inspector in the Special Reserve and a Justice of the Peace, told HTS Evening News that someone in civilian clothing attempted to stop his vehicle on Sunday as it approached New Dock Road.
But because there was nothing to indicate that it was part of a police operation, Bastien said he decided not to stop.
“I did not see anybody else,” he told HTS News.
“As I was going to pass him, he jumped in front of the vehicle, so I stopped,” Bastien recalled.
He said the man instructed him to switch off the vehicle’s engine.
“I said, ‘Why? Who are you?’ He’s not telling me. Then he said: ‘I said put off your damn vehicle.’ I said I am not putting it off until you tell me who you are,” Bastien stated.
“He said: ‘Boys, if he just move there, you all know what to do and I saw he was looking towards my left,” Bastien recounted.
He disclosed that he later saw three officers in uniform coming, at which point the man who stopped him showed an identification card.
“So I said, ‘If you are conducting traffic, the law says you must be in uniform. So it’s not only now you can show me an ID,” Bastien said.
He said when the officers approached, he opened his vehicle door to come out, at which point the officer in civilian clothing slammed the door.
Bastien told HTS News he sustained an injury when the door hit his forehead.
He revealed that he subsequently visited a Doctor and would be pursuing the matter.
Bastien said when he indicated that he had served in the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force (RSLPF) is an Inspector in the Special Reserve, a Justice of the Peace, the officer who initially stopped him ‘cooled down’ and left the scene.
He said although the officers declined to search his vehicle, he insisted they did.
Bastien said he showed them his police bulletproof vest, asked for a senior officer, and recounted the incident to an officer who appeared to be an Assistant Police Commissioner.
“I informed him that I was going to take the police to court,” he explained.
Bastien also said he had contacted Police Commissioner Crusita Descartes-Pelius.
He told HTS Evening News that Descartes-Pelius promised to intervene but declared that if there were no satisfactory outcome, he would sue the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force.
Vieux Fort, recently the scene of a sharp upsurge in deadly gun violence, is now an escalated crime zone under new legislation granting extended powers to the police.
Before the legislation’s passage, there were concerns that the expanded police powers would foster civil rights violations.
Headline photo: Winston Bastien (Photo courtesy HTS Evening News)