More charges expected against wild San Pedro cops Print E-mail
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Written by The Guardian   
Friday, 07 April 2017 00:00

Police Minister Elodio Aragon has publicly assured that his Ministry and the High Command of the Police Department  are not sitting on their hands when dealing with that embarrassing video of police misbehavior on San Pedro. The two police officers, 27 year-old Norman Coye and 22 year-old Darnell Madrill, who have brought the department into disrepute are now facing criminal and disciplinary charges for acting irresponsibly.

By now, readers know the incident very well, since cellphone video footage went viral on social media, and on national television. Sometime after 4 a.m. on Saturday, April 1, club goers were leaving the Daddy Rock Night Club in the heart of San Pedro Town. Unfortunately, two women became involved in some sort of fight, and on-duty police officers intervened to get the situation under control. It is unclear why Constables Norman Coye and Darnell Madrill got involved, because all indications from eyewitnesses are that they were off-duty, and they had been drinking.

They did get involved, and one of the women was resisting arrest. In fact, she was handcuffed, and police were trying to take her to the police station. The other night club patrons quickly became angry at the police for the apparently excessive use of force against the woman, and that’s when different citizens began recording the scene as it unfolded. In one video recording, it shows how the two officers manhandled the woman, slapping her a couple of times, and they kicked her.

Understandably, the crowd of onlookers became enraged by unnecessary acts of violence, and they started hurling insults at the police. Island resident Alfredo Cowo has told the media that he was out there, and when he saw what was happening to the defenseless woman, he started to record the police and their questionable actions. He claims that Constable Madrill noticed that he turned his camera on, and Madrill approached him aggressively, demanding that he hand over the phone.

Cowo claims that he refused to do so, and that apparently got the officer angry, causing a confrontation. His 2 other brothers saw the commotion, and they confronted the officer, demanding that he cease from aggressing him. The already volatile situation erupted at that point because the crowd was already offended by the unnecessary abuse inflicted on the restrained woman. It was also a very late night of partying, and most-likely drinking, and so the mob-like crowd wasn’t the most well-behaved.

In fact, within minutes, it became a full-on confrontation with the police being outnumbered, and the cellular phone footage captured insults and threats being issued to those officers. It even captures a rock being thrown at the police and their mobile.

Simultaneously, the confrontation between the 3 Cowo brothers had allegedly reached a tipping point, and Alfredo Cowo claims that Constable Madrill struck him in the face with the butt of a gun that he was armed with.

During all that, the crowd began advancing on Norman Coye, that’s when he pulled out a police issued handgun. Instead of acting responsibly with the weapon, Constable Coye then aimed the gun at the ground, and he carelessly fired between 7 to 10 shots, which ricocheted all over the place, and in the video it is clearly seen that 1 of the Cowo brothers was hit on the leg. Alfredo Cowo says that he also got injured by those wild shots, and Enfield Henry, a bystander who had nothing to do with the confrontation, was injured by a gunshot which struck him in the left eye. That bullet remains lodged behind the eye, and he may be in danger of losing it. There are also reports that 2 more persons were injured. 

In the aftermath of that discharging of the weapons, the video goes on to show Coye grabbing a shotgun and running around brandishing it at persons standing around. Eventually, he backs off, and the police leave the scene.

Constables Coye and Madrill have given their accounts of the incidents, but they have since been arraigned on charges of harm. They are out on bail, and they are also on interdiction. They will also face disciplinary charges including prejudice to good order and discipline, and another charges related to the questionable use of those weapons.

Elodio Aragon Jr., the Minister of State with responsibility for the Police, granted an interview strenuously making the point that the Department is not going to tolerate this type of behaviour. Aragon said, “We’ve had 2 police officers who have been placed on interdiction, on half pay. These 2 officers have also been charged, arrested and charged for wounding, various degrees of wounding, and... the investigation is ongoing because there are other statements being taken from other witnesses. Of course, we are looking to see what other charges can be laid on these officers and possibly other officers who were involved. I just want to tell... the public out there that from the Ministry’s side of things, and from the police department, we sympathize with what has happened. This has evolved where we had a conflict or a situation between the officers and the community... It’s unfortunate, but at the same time, we must bear in mind that the police department will at no time cover up any kind of things. We will do our job because at the end of the day, the Department’s good name must stand out and tall for everyone to see.”