Man Released From Barbados Police Custody Later Dies – Rumours Of Bruises, Brain Damage & Burst Artery

No Independent Civilian Oversight For Suspicious Death Investigation

When a person dies in police custody or shortly after being released, there should be an immediate investigation by an independent authority. Who investigates such deaths in Barbados?

The police.

Sure, perhaps a coroner or attorney will be put in charge of the process – but the initial and substantive investigation response to an allegation of wrong-doing by a police officer is performed by the Royal Barbados Police Force.

Isn’t it about time that the police stopped being a law unto themselves?

From The Nation News…

WHAT HAPPENED to Glenroy Brathwaite?

His grieving family wants to know following his death on Sunday night at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH), less than 24 hours after his brother collected him from Oistins Police Station in what he said was a disoriented and bruised state.

Brathwaite, 36, of Ashby Land, near Oistins, Christ Church, overnighted in police custody following his arrest in the wee hours of Saturday in the Oistins Bay Gardens.

His siblings spoke to the DAILY NATION yesterday because his mother, Patricia Brathwaite, was overcome with grief.

Glenroy’s brother, Oscar, who was at the QEH, said: “They started stabilising him . . . . They told me he had damage to his brain, an artery burst and it was from more than being drunk. They would have to know exactly what was wrong with him ’cause he had X-rays and a CAT scan.”

The family said he slipped into unconsciousness and then died.

They described the handyman as friendly, kind and always willing to help who never got into “anything with anybody”.

His sister Diana charged he was “roughed up” by police and said when she saw him at the station, he was lying on the floor covered in his own vomit, urine and faeces, and had “marks” over his face and chest.

She said he was later released without being charged after they were told he would be.

… read the entire article at The Nation News (link here)


Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law

13 responses to “Man Released From Barbados Police Custody Later Dies – Rumours Of Bruises, Brain Damage & Burst Artery

  1. John

    The sad fact is that today, life in Barbados has become of little or no value. I commented on “Doolah” a short while ago. Will see if I can find it. Think it happened in October.

    This was another death where the police were involved.

    I think we need to have some form of oversight from police in a foreign country. We have a problem with violence which we are not solving.

    I know, I know, this is independent Barbados, and both “Doolah” and Glenroy Braithwaite were citizens of Independent Barbados who might well have pooh poohed the suggestion when they were alive, but the sad fact is that they are both dead.

    We owe it to ourselves to be big enough (and mature enough) to ask for help if we think we need it.

    Perhaps we don’t need the help.

    I am happy that the Police Force does a good job on the whole but these deaths are extremely worrying and need to be investigated.

    Every life counts, if we start discounting even one, we run the risk of when our turn comes that someone will discount us too.

  2. Carson C. Cadogan

    One Sunday back in the late sixties, I do not recall the exact month or year, the police picked up a man in the Eagle Hall area. This man used to be refered to as “Al Capone”, they took him to the black Rock police station where he later died in police custody. Not a single policeman was held responsible for any wrong doing. From that tragedy I have paid attention to deaths in police custody here in Barbados. It is not uncommon.

    The methods police use to extract confessions from suspects are not exactly gentle. Also it is of concern to many people that a great deal of convivtions come as a result of confessions alone. The United states department in its annual report has highlighted this practice. It is being noticed outside of Barbados. I have a friend who told me he was picked up by Police for some reason and was taken to a place in St. Phillip where he said he was beaten in order to get a confession. I think that we are lucky that more people do not die from police beatings.

    What is even more astonishing is the fact that, to my knowledge, no matter how many people report that they were beaten by police very little is ever done about it.

  3. kas

    This is correct to complain about police brutality means reporting to the deputy police comissioner. It also requires witnessesses who are so often intimidated by the police. Fear that that police will ‘make life difficult for them’ or ‘get back at them’ through their family members deterrs people giving evidence against the police.
    Matters can be taken also to the Ombusman but who knows how to do these procedures?

  4. kas

    Hi John
    Just read your article on ‘Doolah’ and the other articles concerning Dr Tarifi.This is horrendous I posted before on the inncident of a women seen being beaten up by police at Holetown in broad daylight last month for some traffic violation. should I have mentioned this was a middle aged white woman? I never see people as black or white just as people but I notice Bajans tend to prefix descriptions in this way.
    The lives of drunks ,mentally challenged and grandmothers are obviously not worth much here in Barbados whatever the skin colour.

  5. John

    Anyone know who is the Ombudsman?

  6. kas

    Someone at the department of gender affairs might know as I understand it this is a fairly new post.

  7. titilayo

    The Ombudsman’s Office is located in Trident House in Broad Street. I think the current ombudsman is Mr. Cyril Clarke. See contact info here.

  8. John

    Thanks titilayo.

    Would be interesting to know if the complaints to the Ombudsman have increased, decreased or dried up given the apparent dissatisfaction with the Government.

    Anyone know?

  9. John

    Today’s paper says the Government pathologist says that the man did not have any signs of physical violence. A possible medical explanation was given for his death.

    Also, I saw a couple of days ago that the Commissioner has taken on the investigation personally.

    All good, but we need help with the crime situation.

    Who knows, we might nab a politician or three.

  10. John

    So what happened with this investigation?

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