Family blames police for death of son
By Bibi Khatoon
A family is blaming ranks at the Sparendaam Police Station for the death of their 39-year-old brother and son who was taken into custody in the wee hours of Sunday morning even though he was severely injured following a brawl at a wake house.
Hetram Ramchan known as ‘Cannon’, a labourer of Lot 31 Crown Dam, Industry, East Coast Demerara, succumbed to his injuries at the Georgetown Public Hospital at around 07:00hrs Monday, hours after he was denied medical attention while being incarcerated at the Sparendaam lockups.
Senior Superintendent of Police and Commander of ‘C’ Division, Calvin Brutus, told News Room that the man and four others were involved in a fight at a wake house on Saturday evening, during which the 39-year-old man was injured. It is alleged that they were gambling at the time when the scuffle ensued.
News Room visited the home of the deceased where his relatives were preparing for a wake. One of the man’s friends, ‘Regan’, recounted that on the night of the incident, one of the suspects hit him [Regan] and they ended up in a scuffle, during which another man cuffed Ramchan. It is alleged that Ramchan then retrieved a glass bottle and retaliated against the suspect, causing the suspect’s friends to inflict a “severe beating” on him.
“We couldn’t do nothing because is plenty of them…they running off and kick he in he face…(Eventually) he [deceased] come outside and I tell (my other friend) carry this boy to the station, and he carry Cannon to the station and lil bit after, Mikey them [suspects] go and tell the police that Cannon thief some cellphone from them and them beat he, which wasn’t the story,” Regan told News Room.
Ramchan and the suspects were placed on $20,000 bail each, the friend said but added that they could not understand why Ramchan was placed on bail even though he was clearly the victim.
According to Regan, it is impossible for the police not to have seen the extent of Ramchan’s injuries; the police however still placed him in the lockups.
The man’s father also spoke to News Room and related that he received a call, also at about 3:00hrs Sunday from the police station and was told that his son is there and that $20,000 bail has to be paid.
Mr Ramchan said the police told him that his son was in a stable condition at the lockups and so he promised to visit early in the morning. However, the father did not visit the police station but received another telephone call from ranks who asked if his son suffers from seizures.
“Me say no, me son never catch fitz [seizures]. Them say yes that he catch fitz and them got he in the lockup and let we carry $20,000 and them go loose he,” the father said.
The family claimed that it was sometime around 17:00hrs on Sunday that the victim was taken to the hospital after prisoners protested his condition.
“The prisoner them start kick up the door and tell the police them this man badly wounded, alyo move this man from here, this man gonna die in the lockup, the police them didn’t pay attention and Sunday, them take chain and chain on he two hand and two foot and carry him and leave him at the GPHC (Georgetown Public Hospital),” Mr Ramchan related. The family also claimed that the suspects bribed the police ranks to place Ramchan in the lockups.
The father called on the Ministry of Public Security to look into the matter and to investigate the police officers who were at the station on the night his son was taken into custody.
Another friend of the victim, who prefers to remain anonymous, told News Room that since the incident, he has been threatened by the suspects, who reportedly told him in a telephone conversation: “You’re next.”
POLICE MAYBE RESPONSIBLE
While the family claimed that the 39-year-old man was taken for medical attention until 17:00hrs on Sunday, the police contended that he was taken to the hospital at about 09:30hrs after the family could not afford bail.
When contacted, Police Public Relations Officer (ag), Shivpersaud Bacchus told News Room that the victim was placed in the lockups to avoid another confrontation with the suspects who were also on bail.
Bacchus told News Room that there “maybe” neglect on the part of the police ranks, who did not see it fit to take the victim to the hospital first.
The suspects were taken into custody and according to Commander Brutus, they are assisting with investigations.
“The four suspects are in custody assisting with that investigation. Of course they’re casting blame, no is nah me is you, is the other one, but they’re all there and assisting us with our investigations as well,” he told News Room.