Lawyer for the family of Oscar Bartholomew, Derick Sylvester has called for calm following display of public outrage over what is being called police brutality and an apparent show of preferential treatment to the 5 policemen accused of manslaughter.
On Tuesday large a crowd erupted in spontaneous protest in front of the St. George’s Magistrate Court, when police setup decoys to prevent the gathering from seeing the accused men as they made their way in and out of court.
The courtyard protest turned into a march into the city in front of the building housing the Criminal Investigation Department of the Royal Grenada Police Force.
But Sylvester, in a media briefing following the court appearance, has appealed for the public to temper their anger and disgust. He said, despite the fact that the situation is emotionally charged, there is still need for the public to respect the police and for the police to do the same.
“The country is no doubt in mourning but I’m calling on members of the public, everyone involved, also the family of the deceased man; I know it’s a difficult time but we should all be temperate.”
“I would ask everyone, let us continue to respect our police officers, and we expect the same in return,” Sylvester added.
Sylvester said there have been reports that a number of individuals have been posting inflammatory statements on their social networking sites, which have been fueling hostility against members of the police force. This he said must stop, and allow the justice to take its course through the judicial system.
“I’ve has calls as it relates to allegations being made against police officers on facebook, on the internet, and I ask that the public cease and desist from doing these things and let the administration of justice take its course,” he said.
There have also been calls by members of the public and by the family for the charges against the five men to be raised to murder instead of manslaughter. But Sylvester said that according to Grenada’s laws, for a person to be charged with murder, ther must be clear evidence of intent to kill.
““One has to get into the factual circumstances re the statements and determine whether or not it as a clear intention to kill” said Sylvester.