Onderneeming family traumatised after SWAT raid; recounts being tied up, property damaged
An Onderneeming, Essequibo Coast family is alleging that members of the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Unit violated their human rights when they raided their home in the wee hours of Wednesday and tied them up, children included. An incident that has left the family traumatised.
The Police said that the SWAT Unit was conducting an anti-crime operation on the Essequibo Coast and during a raid of a third house, 29-year-old businessman Orin Boston was shot and killed by one of the ranks.
His death sparked fiery protests by residents of Dartmouth on Wednesday. Protest action continued on Thursday.
But Orin Klass, a 38-year-old diesel mechanic, claims that about 20 ranks “smashed down” his door at about 03:00hrs on Wednesday and did not state why they were there.
The father of five said that four of his children were screaming at the manner the SWAT officers approached them.
Klass said that the police could have just asked him rather than damaging items in his home and his property in search of something he is yet to be told of.
“Them men just come and kick down we door, bruk up we wardrobe and just ransack everything.
“I asked them what really them want and what they searching for them can’t even answer meh,” Klass told the News Room.
Klass’ 21-year-old son was arrested during the operation for an alleged robbery/murder investigation while his 11-year-old daughter and 12-year-old son were tied up, along with his wife.
His two-year-old daughter was left alone and ran around crying after walking on broken glass.
“They tied up we hands with straps and got we like when we did something wrong, my children were breathing heavy.
“My son does work every day; if they wanted him then let a police come and ask for he if they want question him then it’s simple come and talk to we, don’t come drive fear in us,” the father further said.
Klass is calling on the relevant authorities to investigate the matter. During the entire ordeal the father said that he was harassed and assaulted.
He is now counting his losses after the ranks reportedly damaged his property. He said that he had recently constructed his house and most of the items including the door were new.
Klass explained that he has been unemployed for about eight months due to an injury he sustained while working.
Meanwhile, following the death of Boston, Police Commissioner (ag) Nigel Hoppie, Deputy Commissioner of Operation Clifton Hicken and Crime Chief Wendell Blanhum held a press briefing Wednesday afternoon and said that the SWAT Unit’s presence was necessary during the operation.
They were reportedly searching for prohibited items, but none of the senior officers would say what those items were when questioned by reporters.
However, the senior police officers provided limited information on the operation and confirmed that nothing illegal was found during the raids.
However, a search in Onderneeming resulted in the arrest of two persons, one of whom was Klass’s son. The police revealed that the two persons were wanted for murder.
But when reporters questioned what those murders were, the Crime Chief promised to release that information in a subsequent police report. That report has not been forthcoming more than 24 hours later.
The senior police officers all insisted that the unit was working on intelligence provided to them.