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What PC Rowley says happened in San Pedro Print E-mail
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Friday, 11 January 2019 00:00

For the last week or so, the evening news has been dominated by coverage on Police Constables Tyrell Rowley and Samir Medina, who were caught on camera detaining several civilians, including Jamir Leal. One of the officers is seen kicking a subdued Leal in the head, a gratuitous act of violence after this disorderly island resident was stopped from engaging in a drunken fight.

The focus has been on the unwarranted brutality from the officers, but there are officers within the department who take issue with the public outrage against the cops, while there is near complete ignorance of the disorderly behavior that occurred before the civilian bystander pulled out her cellular phone and started recording. Those who are upset at the unbalanced press coverage of the case freely acknowledge that the officers went too far, but they insist that the incident be put into its proper perspective.

So, this is the account of the officers of the night in question.

Constables Rowley and Medina both reported to their police bosses that at around 9 p.m. on Tuesday, January 1st, 2019, they were on patrol of the beach front area of San Pedro when they were informed of a fight in progress at the Playa Bar and Grill. They responded and found five men engaged in a drunken brawl. They tried to intervene and part the fight, in an effort to keep the peace, but according to Constable Rowley one of the men punched him in the face and the chest. He said that he informed the man that he had committed the criminal offense of assaulting a police officer, but the man was unconcerned, and he allegedly kept throwing punches and kicks at Rowley. The officer claims that this man did hit him several times, and that’s when a second man tried to gang up on him, but this second man could not hit him.

Rowley noted that the two men grabbed him and tried to pull him into an aggressive crowd which was behaving disorderly, even though there were two on-duty police officers present. In that confusion, Rowley allegedly suffered several punches to the back of the head, but he could not identify who assaulted him because there were about 75 people at the bar at time. Rowley alleged that he felt that someone was reaching for his holstered service weapon, and that’s when he became fearful of his life.

That’s when the officer retaliated, and he simply states that “force was used to detain and subdue” the three most aggressive civilians who attacked him. With the help other officers who later arrived, all three were transported to the San Pedro Police Station. They were later identified as 20-year-old Jamir Leal, 23-year-old Mario Leal, and 21-year-old Justin Leal. They were all informed that they had committed the offenses of assaulting a police officer, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. Constable Rowley reported that he cautioned all three and informed them about their constitutional rights.

From his account, all three men appeared to be heavily under the influence of alcohol; they smelled strongly of alcohol when they spoke.

Constable Samir Medina corroborated Rowley’s report with his own formal statement.