Two police officers involved in the alleged beating death of a Canadian man this week have been detained and questioned, Grenada’s police commissioner said on Thursday.
Two “junior police officers” were being questioned by investigators to determine just what happened the night Oscar Bartholomew died, Commissioner Wilan Thompson told a news conference.
He also said that the head of the police station where the incident took place has been reassigned, along with a number of other officers who were in the station at the time.
Bartholomew, 39, died on Tuesday, and there are allegations that he was beaten by a group of police officers.
“Everything has been done to quickly complete the investigation and I will be intimately involved,” Thompson said. “We are determined to unearth the truth and anyone found to be culpable will find that justice will take its course.”
However, a lawyer for the family said on Thursday that having the police investigate their own raises concerns the investigation won’t be objective.
Bartholomew, who is originally from Grenada but a permanent resident of Canada, had returned to his homeland for an annual family visit.
The incident may have resulted from a case of mistaken identity outside the police station in St David’s, when Bartholomew is said to have mistaken a plainclothed police officer for an old family friend and didn’t realize the mistake until after he ran over, hugged and lifted the woman off the ground.
Although Bartholomew reportedly put the woman down after realizing his mistake, other plainclothed officers considered it an assault on an officer, and took Bartholomew inside the police station. Family members allege that, once inside the station, officers severely beat Bartholomew.
He succumbed to his injuries in hospital.
The Royal Grenada Police Force said in a release this week that an investigation into the incident will be conducted with “alacrity, objectivity and an uncompromising desire to elicit the truth.” Prime Minister Tillman Thomas called for a probe into the death, and a cabinet minister suggested an independent inquiry should be set up. – Caribbean News
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