ALTHOUGH they said they were not involved in the severe beating of an alleged sex offender on Monday, residents of Scorpion Alley in Carenage said the attack was justified and it should be seen as a warning to other predators.
Police said the 34-year-old man was beaten and stripped naked by residents of Scorpion Alley on Monday after he allegedly assaulted a nine-year-old boy in the area. The man was tied to a light pole before Carenage police took him for treatment. Up to Tuesday afternoon he was in the Intensive Care Unit of the Port of Spain General Hospital.
Police said members of the Child Protection Unit have visited the boy's family and a report was made.
Newsday visited Scorpion Alley on Tuesday afternoon and spoke with a group of residents near the spot where the attack happened. They said the man was known in the area as an "undesirable."
"We know him from around as a troublemaker, but we didn't know him to have done something like this before. Those men that beat him did nothing wrong as far as we are concerned. This was a justified beating. Here in Scorpion Alley we look out for each other and we want this to be seen as a warning to other people who abuse children.
"That man has to be charged for what he did, and he is not welcome in this community again when or if he is ever released."
Residents said the boy lived with a relative who allowed the man to stay at the house with them before the alleged assault happened.
A resident said crimes against children were too heinous to forgive and he supports people taking the law into their own hands.
"I have children of my own and I wouldn't feel comfortable having someone like that on the loose. This is a child we are talking about, and people like that should be dealt with."
Senior Western Division police said while they appreciated the public's assistance in preventing crime and protecting children, they warned that the use of excessive force could lead to arrests and charges against those involved.
One officer said while members of the public are within their rights to put someone under citizen's arrest and restrain them until the police arrive, they should not beat the restrained person, as it could lead to serious injury or death. "If there is an offence he allegedly committed, they were right for trying to restrain him.
"Any excessive force would be uncalled for. We have to determine if excessive force was used during their apprehension. People have to understand that they can't go overboard in restraining someone, because despite all of their good intentions, they should be wary of doing anything to cause someone's injury or death.
"We want people to assist, but don't overdo it. Once you have him subdued and under control, don't continue to beat him."
The police said depending on the extent of the injuries, people involved in the beating could be charged with common assault or attempted murder.
In June 2018, Ashdale McHutchinson, 49, was beaten to death by Oropune Gardens residents after it was reported that he tried to snatch a six-year-old girl away from her family. McHutchinson's family later dismissed this account and said he was simply under the influence of alcohol when he spoke with the girl.
Then in late 2018, another man was severely beaten in Edinburgh Village, Chaguanas, when a mob of people attacked him as he tried to assault a woman.
And in September this year, residents of John Peter Road, Charlieville, beat a man after he allegedly tried to rape a woman. These residents were later commended by police and Chaguanas Mayor Faaiq Mohammed.