NAMALCO boss alleges police brutality

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NAMALCO Construction’s CEO Naeem Ali says he was a “victim of a vicious and brutal assault” by people claiming to be police dressed in plainclothes.

On Friday, Ali responded to a press release issued by the police on Thursday saying he had been arrested for driving under the influence, resisting arrest and assaulting police officers on Wednesday.

In its release, the police said PCs Nanan, Ramlal and WPC Timothy were on mobile patrol on Suchit Trace, when they saw a grey Nissan Frontier overtaking a line of vehicles at high speed.

The release said the officers stopped the vehicle a short distance away and detected “a strong alcohol smell” so they told the driver they were going to do a breathalyser test. The release said the driver, Naeem Ali, 43, tried to evade the test, thereby assaulting two police officers.

It also said a breath test was done at the police station and Ali allegedly failed the test. He was charged with driving under the influence, resisting arrest and assaulting police officers. Ali was granted bail in the sum of $50,000 and is expected to appear in court on July 31.

However, Ali, in his statement, said having never been arrested in his lifetime, far less charged or convicted of any criminal offence, he was “extremely concerned about the unprofessional matter in which the police operated.”

“I am compelled to add my voice to the growing chorus of law-abiding citizens who have voiced concern about the conduct of police officers in their dealings with innocent members of the public,” he said.

Ali said he has reported the incident to the Professional Standards Bureau. He has also hired a legal team to represent him to “ensure that justice is served.”

“Police officers are not above the law and cannot behave as if they are a law unto themselves, lest we descend into anarchy and chaos. They are not entitled to ride roughshod over the constitutional rights of people and must themselves obey the law if they wish to be respected.

“I am a concerned citizen of TT that persons dressed in plainclothes in an unmarked vehicle would be allowed to stop citizens on the roadway at night and proceed to forcefully attack and detain them without identifying themselves under the pretence of investigating traffic offences.

“Body cameras for police officers are essential to ensure that the police do not misconduct themselves and break the very laws that they are duty bound to obey and enforce,” he said.

Ali continued that as a businessman, he was “all too familiar with the risks” he faced from criminal elements and on being stopped and physically restrained by people who refuse to identify themselves.

“I reacted as any person in my situation would have to free themselves and ran to seek assistance from nearby residents,” he explained. He said he was then subjected to a “brutal assault” which left him physically, mentally and emotionally scarred.

“I trust that the relevant authorities will treat my report with urgency and complete a thorough investigation into the incident which has resulted in grave distress to my family and I.

“I vehemently deny the allegations against me and I look forward to having my day in court,” he said, adding that he was still under the care of medical professionals to treat the injuries he received.

The post NAMALCO boss alleges police brutality appeared first on Trinidad and Tobago Newsday.

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