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Punta Gorda Police speaks on raid in Santa Cruz

On Wednesday, a number of villagers of Santa Cruz Village in the Toledo District were arrested and charged in connection with an incident in which Rupert Miles was handcuffed and tied up by villagers.  Attorney Audrey Matura Shepherd expressed her displeasure with the way the authorities handled her clients. Today the officer in charge of Punta Gorda spoke to our correspondent Paul Mahung about the pre-dawn operation yesterday.

Paul Mahung reporting…

“Officer commanding the Toledo Police formation Superintendent Simeon Alvarez spoke of the operation, arrest and detention phase.

Simeon Alvarez, Commander Toledo Police formation

“On yesterday around 3:30am we did a predawn operation in Santa Cruz village. Based on the report made by Rupert Miles, 12 persons were brought in, they were detained, they were processed and they had the privilege of communicating with an attorney who is one Monica Coc the sister of Christina Coc.  She was given the privilege to communicate with them so there was no interference with that because that is their right. Now during that process though, I personally had to communicate with Ms. Coc to give us the opportunity to speed up the process so that these people could be taken to court but she wanted to be with the police during the processing.  I told her “Ms. Coc please sit aside we will give you that privilege to speak with them individually” and that was done to her. That was done, we gave her that privilege.  As a matter of fact, I identified a room where she could have spoken with them individually and privately, that was done. During their detention the only person that complained to the officer that she was not feeling well was Christina Coc. The attorney brought that to my attention.  As a result of that we asked her if she would want to go to the hospital to seek medical attention and she refused so she was placed back in the detention cell after she was interviewed by the attorney. When it comes to the other male persons that were arrested and charged during their detention, none of them complained of any injuries or pains to their bodies even though the information during their arraignment they made certain allegations of police brutality which in fact I strongly believe did not occur because there was no reason for that. The purpose of the early morning operation is because again we know that farmers usually go to farm very early and if we would have gone for them in broad daylight definitely they would not have been at home so we did a predawn operation which resulted in the capturing of all players that were involved in the Rupert Miles incident.

Paul Mahung, Love FM News:

“Were the families given the opportunity to get appropriate clothing for the detained?”

Simeon Alvarez, Commander Toledo Police formation

“According to the police officers that went on the operation, the four male persons that were brought without shirts, the families were told to bring clothing for them and apparently they were maybe advised not to do so but in the process before they were being taken to court they were dressed. Their attorney Ms. Audrey Matura  arrived in Punta Gorda at the police station sometime around 1pm and upon her arrival here she was also given the privilege to communicate with all detainees and no complaint of any physical abuse was made to me by her.”

Paul Mahung, Love FM News

Superintendent Simeon Alvarez confirmed that Christina Coc was arrested and detained on Wednesday morning by police while she was in Punta Gorda. Superintendent Alvarez further confirmed that others who were arrested and detained that same morning from Santa Cruz included ;Armando Maz, Renato Canti, Arron Canti, Basilio Teul, Pedro Teul, Pedro Teul, Mateo Sho, Alfredo Mes, Michael Sho and Isabel Canti. Manuel Pop who was wanted in connection with the incident, handed himself in to Police this morning.