Two days after the Police’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) said it had launched an investigation to determine what transpired involving the burning of a teen detainee in the Vigilance Police Station lock-ups on Sunday, advice was given for three Guyana Police Force (GPF) ranks and a civilian to be charged.
The legal advice that has since been received states that Police Constable 25324 Nazier is to be charged with the offence of failing to perform his duties with diligence, contrary to Section 4(e)(ii) of the Police (Discipline) Act, Chapter 17:01, Corporal 18165 Thomas is to be charged with the offence of neglect of duty, contrary to Section 4(e)(i) of the Police (Discipline) Act, Chapter 17:01, while Corporal 20876 Bissessar is to be charged with the offence of omitting to make a necessary entry, contrary to Section 4(e) (viii) of the Police (Discipline) Act, Chapter 17:01.
Meanwhile, Keron Williams, the injured teen’s friend, is to be charged with the offence of Introducing prohibited articles into prison, contrary to Section 54(1)(a) of the Prison Act, Chapter 11:01.
According to the Police, Jahiem Peters, a 17-year-old of Annandale, East Coast Demerara (ECD), had accused a GPF rank stationed at the Vigilance Police Station of torturing him. As such, the OPR decided to look into his claim.
“The inquiry has so far shown that on July 10, 2022, at around 10:30hrs, Peters was arrested pending an investigation into an allegation of an alleged robbery under arms in which he was recognised as one of the attackers and was assisting the Police with the said investigation,” the statement read.
Peters told investigators that while he was detained, two of his friends were also brought into custody. Police said the teen was sitting on the prisoner’s bench in front of the lock-ups with another male detainee when he, Peters, asked one of them for a cigarette lighter and his friend gave him a lighter.
The other prisoner admitted to seeing when Peters’ friend gave him the cigarette lighter but claimed that he only heard Peters screaming while he was alone in the cell. The Police Officer on duty at the Vigilance Police Station allegedly rushed to the cell and removed Peters while his shirt was still on fire.
Peters, who was subsequently questioned by Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs), claimed that he had been smoking in the lock-ups when he fell asleep and the cigarette caught on his shirt.
Two other civilian witnesses informed the investigators that they heard Peters screaming from his cell while they were at the station and that when the Police on duty took him outside, they saw fire on his shirt.
Meanwhile, the young man stated that he was beaten to say he set himself on fire and what the Police were claiming was not true.
The teen had reportedly left his home on the ECD on Thursday and was heading to Georgetown when he, along with two others, was picked up by Police and taken to the Vigilance Police Station.