Douglas denies police accusations in Swallowfield incident
Councillor for the Trafalgar division in South East St Andrew, the Jamaica Labour Party's (JLP) Kari Douglas, says she strongly denies allegations that she assaulted and obstructed the police yesterday evening.
The incident happened about 8:30 p.m., Commanding Officer for the St Andrew Central Police Division, Marlon Nesbeth told The Gleaner this morning, as the police responded to a gathering in the community.
He said Douglas allegedly used her vehicle to block the police in effecting the arrest of an individual from the gathering. Following the incident, she turned up at the Stadium Police where she was arrested. She was granted station bail and is scheduled to appear in court on March 16.
However, in a statement released this afternoon, Douglas said the police appeared to be physically abusing a person known to have mental challenges. She said the person is now being treated in hospital.
She said she was reminding the police of the person's mental illness when she was "accosted and attacked by a policeman."
"Based on politically charged comments made during the incident last night and during a previous incident, I am of the view that I am being targeted by a few police personnel because of my recent decision to cross the political aisle. I look forward to my day in court and the opportunity to once again prove my innocence," Douglas was quoted in the release as saying.
She declined to comment further on the matter and has directed persons to her attorney, Queen's Counsel Peter Champagnie.
Speaking to The Gleaner earlier today, Champagnie similarly hinted to a political motive for her arrest.
"I'm not trying to come down one way or another," he said, "but it's just by way of making a comment, and one wonders if, because of her history- in terms of her political history- you may wonder if this is coincidence. I don't know," Champagnie said.
"It's a matter that clearly would have to be played out in court. There are going to be challenges, because it seems to me with all of what is happening, especially when you have persons in the political field that are as active as she appears to be, and interfacing with the community and so on, sometimes these things may happen," he said.
Douglas, a former member of the opposition, People's National Party, crossed the floor in the King and St. Andrew Municipal Corporation to the JLP in February last year.
Champagnie said Douglas is to meet with him in the coming week.
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