There is an alarming report coming from Crooked Tree tonight. At least twenty persons are claiming that they were brutalized and violated by the Gang Suppression Unit. The alleged abuse went so far that one of the victims says he was peppered sprayed on his private parts when the GSU went on a wild rampage, looking for guns and a particular suspect. News Five’s Duane Moody spoke to the victim’s and has details of that story from Crooked Tree.
Duane Moody, Reporting
Far too many times there have been allegations for the use of excessive force from the Gang Suppression Unit of the Police Department. Tonight the latest claim comes from residents of the peaceful village of Crooked Tree. At least twenty men including a couple of minors say they were injured by the GSU. One man was beaten behind his house.
Voice of: Victim # 1
“Dehn bring me back yah. All I can tell you dehn brutalize me ina that kinda way; they handcuffed me. They actually start stretch me. One ah dehn stand up pan my foot, [while] the next one grab me make I pass out like seven to ten time—I noh even know because every time I wake up, dehn put me right back pan dah hold dehn. Me noh know how long dehn hold me for. Dehn talk bout how dehn wah ker me back soh goh shoot me. From dehn come, dehn start beat me up. And that dah bout it. Dehn stomp up me, dehn stand up pan mi jaw; one pan mi head; dehn knock up mi pan mi two ear’s drum. When dehn come, dehn claim that I have drugs—gun an drugs—beat mi up fi make I tell dehn something weh I noh even know about. Some gaza; I just come in, I dah noh even from this village yah and dehn wah know about wah gang.”
The first incident occurred just before, at around nine p.m. Ten youths were practicing on the basketball court in the heart of the village when it is alleged that as many as nine GSU officers accosted them. Devin Swasey, who was just recently in a coma at the K.H.M.H. and is at home recovering, was on the court when he was targeted.
Devin Swasey, Victim
“The GSU they come and told us to lie down on the court and do not move. So we abide with what they were saying and they came over to us and they tazed us and they stoned some of the guys in their heads with the basketball. Approximately they were torturing the guys at the basketball court.”
“Why did this happen? Were you guys doing anything out of the way? What could have triggered them to do something like that?”
“Well we weren’t doing anything at the court; we were just practicing for the coming CBL that we always have Friday at the court. They rubbed us down and one of them came over to me and stand up on my hand here and the other guy said, “You know what, you are hurting his hand. Mind you break ih hand.” Then when he released me, another one came over me and he stomped my hand again. The other guys, they received tasers to their heads, some of them had their feet over their heads; they were realizing brutalizing them at the other end of the court.”
“Did they using batons or punching them, what?”
“They usually used tasers on them; some of them stoned basketball on some of their heads.”
The assault continued. One victim, who for fear of his life has requested anonymity, says that he was socializing with some friends near AJ’s Shop when he was beaten, then stripped and his genitals pepper sprayed.
Voice of: Victim # 2
Victim # 2
“Me and a couple of my friends mi di hang out right here and the man dehn just mi di drive pass and he stop the vehicle and two ah dehn jump out and grab me and beat me bad. The man dehn hold me di look fi kill me; make me lost my breath everything and I have to play like I dead fi make di man dehn left me alone. Then two ah my bally mi deh di ball out cause dehn look fi kill dehn and thing. Man dehn haul off my pants, pepper spray me out; pepper spray my butt and everything.”
“Did you have to go to hospital? Tell us about the injuries that you received.”
Voice of: Victim # 2
“I noh really got some bad injuries, but one of my ribs, my ribcage mess up right now but I noh know how bad it bad because I neva gone see wah doctor yet.”
The rampage by GSU has angered many villagers and they intend to seek justice. Bernice Wade says there actions were uncalled for.
Bernice Wade, Resident
“My grandson and my nephew tell me that after they put them down and they shock them up, hold dehn testicles and shake them and tell them bout ahn and how dehn big and all kinda thing. I am upset because I neva expect such thing in our village. I expect those people to come ina the village, seek about what they want to know and what they want to find, but noh brutalize the youths and minors like they did last night. I don’t like it.”
Several victims say that they are traumatized by the incidents as they thought the police were there to protect them. Some say they will be making a complaint to Internal Affairs Department of the Police. Duane Moody for News Five.
Up to late this evening, the GSU made no comment on the allegations.