Suspended Special Reserve Police (SRP) officer, 32-year-old Roger Rajkumar, has been gagged by his attorneys and can no longer speak about his alleged involvement in the violent slapping of a wheel-chair bound paraplegic Robby Ramcharitar.
The T&T Guardian met with Rajkumar at a relative's home in Princes Town yesterday and while he is abiding by his lawyer's instructions, Rajkumar denied that he has ever spoken to any media house since the alleged incident occurred on December 27."If I wanted to speak to any media, I would speak to them just like I am speaking to you. But I have not spoken to anyone and I seeing myself quoted. What is that?" Rajkumar said.
He had copies of two other newspaper reports, highlighting and underlining portions of the published article that he plans to send to his lawyer."This is malicious and damaging to my character," Rajkumar said.
Rajkumar was working on extra duty, hired by the owners of a nearby jewelry store as security during the busy Christmas season. But while Rajkumar is refusing to speak on the actual incident that led to his suspension, a close relative described the situation as an "edited set-up". The relative denied that Rajkumar slapped Ramcharitar, describing it as a swift reaction to the threat of being spat on.
His family is supportive, also denying that Rajkumar slapped Ramcharitar, saying that with his eight years of martial arts training, he reacted quickly to the threat of being spat on and that he pushed Ramcharitar's face away on two occasions.
The incident, which was recorded by an unknown individual and uploaded to Facebook, allegedly shows Rajkumar slapping Ramcharitar. The video was quickly shared on social media pages and became a popular topic of discussion. Both Rajkumar and a female officer also seen in the video have since been suspended pending investigations.
Rajkumar said he was not aware of the actions of the female officer until he saw the video and does not know who she is. This, his relatives suggest, is more cunning video editing done to make it look like both officers attacked the man in succession."I did not know that happened, I was just crossing the road when he approached me asking for money, when he saw my police identification, then he became abusive," Rajkumar said.
A relative said yesterday that the video was deliberately edited to remove the cursing and obscene language by the man in the wheelchair. The edited version of the video, he claims, also removed the Ramcharitar's threat to spit on Rajkumar."The street was quiet, yet you hearing a Vibez Kartel song while the man speaking, why is there no other noise, no other background noise but that song and only when the man speaking?" the family member questioned.
Family members said there had been several previous encounters with the owners of stores opposite where the officer was working and they believe that the editing of the video was done deliberately to "get back" at Rajkumar."Several times he had to buff them for parking on the wrong side of the road and for blocking his view of the doorway of the store he was hired to protect," he said.
This too he is discussing with his attorney."He has said that when the real video is shown, the unedited version, he doesn't mind if people judge him on that," the relative said.
Rajkumar has been an SRP for just nine months and in that time has written out over 350 citations, including several for obscene language and driving under the influence."He studied martial arts for years, believe me, if he slap someone, they will lay down," the relative said.
Rajkumar's relatives believe that the decision to suspend him and the female officer was as a result of public outcry."Nobody asked my side of the story yet but still I got suspended," Rajkumar said.The T&T Guardian has since learned that Rajkumar and his legal representative will be meeting with the investigators today.