FOR the first time in TT, a police officer was ordered to pay a man $5,000 from his own pocket and he had 48 hours from 1 pm on Thursday to do so.
Justice Frank Seepersad had found that Clint Attong, 35, of Padmore Street, San Fernando, was kidnapped, beaten and his money stolen by police officers eight years ago. The criminal actions of the police, the judge ruled in the San Fernando High Court, were findings of fact that warranted criminal charges.
Seepersad called for CCTV cameras in all police stations and sending a strong message to police commissioner Gary Griffith, said, "The commissioner has a war not only to fight criminal activity on the streets but to hold accountable police officers who are engaged in criminal activity."
Attong sued PCs Murray Mohammed, Ronnie Edwards and Premchan Sookram for false imprisonment on October 29, 2011. Sookram was his supervisor at RBG Blasting Group Ltd in Mayaro and he had an appointment to meet him at 3.30 pm at "Aves Bar", Mayaro, to discuss his (Sookram’s) safety.
Instead, Attong claimed, he was kidnapped and taken by the defendants to Mayaro Police station in handcuffs. Mohammed beat him with a hose while Edwards looked on. Sookram, he alleged, beat him with a slipper. Edwards ordered him to strip naked in a cell with prisoners.
At about 9 pm Attong was released after they returned his bank card, cell phones but not the $5,000. He was never charged.
The State challenged the lawsuit with Mohammed contending in an affidavit that investigations revealed that Attong plotted fictitious plans of people being kidnapped, from who he obtained money to prevent their kidnapping. Edwards and Sookram denied Attong’s allegations.
In an oral ruling, Seepersad ordered damages be assessed for Attong by a Master. He found that Mohammed stole the money and it should be paid from his "own" pocket.
Seepersad said, "It is outrageous that Mohammed has not been subjected to disciplinary proceedings and that criminal charges not contemplated.
"Police have a war not only to fight crime on the streets but an internal war to root out and hold accountable those police officers who are engaged in criminal activity. Given the increase of the national security budget, it has become mandatory for every station to be equipped with CCTV cameras."
Seepersad further said, "I found as a fact that Attong was taken against his will."