Artist Damian Agostini was brought to tears last week when he showed up at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain, to find his artwork gone.
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Man gets $165,000 in police brutality case
A 26-year-old man who was beaten with a hammer during a police raid at his home has received a $165,000 settlement from the State. He was left with permanent injuries. Jonathan Moore, of Bath Street, East Dry River, Port-of-Spain, filed the lawsuit for unlawful arrest, assault and false imprisonment after the December 17, 2009 incident. The case was before Justice Peter Rajkumar before it was settled by state attorneys who conceded to the case presented by Moore’s lawyer Beresford Charles.
In an interview at the T&T Guardian’s St Vincent Street office on Friday, Moore, the son of police inspector Daniel Moore, said he was arrested by police almost 14 times between 2007 and 2010. “Them police keep holding me and trying to plant drugs on me. I does always get bail and then win the cases,” Moore said.
Moore said of the numerous times he was arrested he was only charged on a couple of occasions. “They (the police) does just pass through the area and arrest all the young boys. After a day they does have to release everybody,” Moore said. He explained that on the day of the incident, he was at his apartment when he heard a loud banging.
Moore said when he the opened the gate, six police officers invaded his home and began searching and questioning him. “They didn’t even have a warrant,” Moore said.
After he was questioned, Moore said the senior officer on the raid attacked him with a hammer and flashlight. “He (name withheld) just start hitting me in my head with the hammer so I breaks with my hand,” Moore said.
He claimed that after being struck several times with the construction tool, he was again assaulted this time, with a beer bottle which the officer found in his refrigerator. He said he was also pistol-whipped by the officers during the raid. “After he finish I was bleeding badly so they (the police) carry me hospital,” Moore said. Since the incident Moore has lost all movement on one of his fingers on his right hand which he says makes finding employment a difficult task.
Moore was treated at the Port-of-Spain General Hospital and was then taken to the Besson Street Police Station where he was locked in the holding cells for 36 hours before being released without being charged. Moore said that he was happy with the settlement and would be using the money to improve the lives of his family. He also hoped that the result of his case would inspire other victims of police brutality to come forward to seek justice through legal action. “I just hope they (the police) leave me in peace from now on,” Moore said.
Moore’s father, who was also present during the interview, said after learning of the abuse his son suffered, he encouraged him to keep calm and seek redress through the legal system. “God don’t sleep...Evil cannot stand,” the senior Moore said. His father also believes that his son’s constant interaction with the police might have been the result of his previous dealings with the police in the area, during his lengthy career. He said such a practice was unfortunate. Moore noted that his son has several other similar cases for police brutality which are currently pending. The next case will be heard in the Port-of-Spain High Court in April.