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Search For Truth Over Death In Cell

By SANCHESKA BROWN

Tribune Staff Reporter

sbrown@tribunemedia.net

photo

Joann McKenzie, the mother of Tyronne TJ Saunders, with his child Tyreek.

THE MOTHER of the man who died in police custody over the weekend made an emotional plea yesterday for the police to “tell her the truth” about his sudden death.

Joann McKenzie said the nightmare started when neighbourhood boys told her on Thursday that her only son, 22-year-old Tyronne ‘TJ’ Saunders, had been arrested by police.

“They told me they picked TJ up and took him to the police station. I would be the first to say I know my son is no angel. He is not perfect. He has been up and down with the law, but he was never convicted of a crime. So when I was told he was arrested I just went to the Grove Police Station to find out what he was arrested for. When I got there Thursday night, the officers told me they could not give out that information and I would have to go down to the Central Detective Unit because that is where he was being held,” she said.

“I waited until the next day and went to CDU on Friday. The officers there told me they had TJ in custody in connection with a murder. I asked if I could see him, but I was told no because they said he was being interviewed. This was about 10 o’clock that night.”

Ms McKenzie on being denied a second time decided to go home and return to CDU the next day. However, moments after getting home police officers arrived to tell her she had to return to CDU with them.

“They said they were looking for me, but I had TJ’s two-year-old son with me and had to wait for my boyfriend to get there before I could leave. When I got there the first person I saw was (Coroner) Linda Virgill and I knew something was wrong. They took me upstairs into a room full of officers and they began to tell me why my son was arrested but they were telling me things I already knew. All I wanted to know was why I couldn’t see my son,” she said.

“Then they told me they found TJ unconscious in a cell. Miss, they called me all the way there to tell me my son was dead. They knew all that time he was dead and didn’t say anything. They told me he was unconscious before they were able to question him, but when I was there earlier an officer told me I couldn’t see him because he was being questioned, something is not right here. They killed him, they beat my child to death in that cell. I know it.”

Ms McKenzie said her son was a healthy boy with no medical problems, except the occasional asthma attack. She said some days she wished that the police would arrest TJ because he would be safer in custody than on the streets, but now she says “that’s obviously not the case.”

She said: “Some boys came looking for TJ a few nights ago like they wanted to kill him, I prayed the police get him so he would be safe, but they killed him and now they want to sweep it under the rug. He may not have been perfect, but he came from me and I will not rest until I find out what happened to him. They wouldn’t even let me see his body or give me his property. If he did something wrong, charge him before the courts. Let them deal with it.”

Ms McKenzie said she was told she can view her son’s body today. She also said she is seeking legal advice on what to do next.

In a statement police say they have launched an investigation into the death of a man after finding him unresponsive in a cell at CDU on Friday.

“Her Majesty’s Coroner Linda P Virgill visited CDU where she observed the body. The body was taken to the hospital and a meeting was held with the mother,” the statement read.

It continued: “All contacts relative to this matter are to be relayed to Her Majesty’s Coroner Mrs Linda Virgil at the Coroner’s Office, Victoria Gardens, Nassau.”

Comments

positiveinput 8 years, 3 months ago

Mr. Bell you're good at opening your mouth, so don't go quiet now. Make sure this lady gets satisfactory answers and where needed satifactory charges and judgement. I swear, the people ask for a change but we never stated in what. We didn't want a change in government, we want a change in the way this country is being run overall.

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BahaMan 8 years, 3 months ago

See....yet another person claiming police brutality being used excessively really for nothing! How does the Police Force, yet even Judges sit comfortable by knowing that the only way a CONFESSION STATEMENT is signed IS BECAUSE OF A POLICE GANGING! I'M not against the Law but these same regular people need's to be evaluated every Quarter to ensure all of their mental health is in Good shape. Cause they is BEAT first & ask LAST for years now!! When will the force find A new tactic?! How many more DONNAVAN GARDINER'S do we also have working as Law Enforcers??

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PKMShack 8 years, 3 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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JohnBrown 8 years, 3 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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1plpgovernment 8 years, 3 months ago

I personally believe the police are sometimes out of order................however, these comments starting to sway to another Bahamian sympathetic give the criminal a break. I am so tired of hearing that my good child, or my son never been convicted and other ridiculous statements that somewhat try to justify that getting away with repeat crimes makes you a good person. However, when people like this end up dead, it makes me feel safer one less jack %$# on the streets. On the other note, police need to be more aggressive because it is these same persons that are now killing our officers (For gold chains), and trying to kill our officers who are taking them to the hospital when they are experiencing (or claim to be experiencing) medical problems and the same officers have to be humane to these inhumane, out-on-bail beasts. These things appear to be from "Operation INCREASE fire". If your child is a bad@%^, then karma. To the mother, McKenzie, be grateful that them other thugs ain come any take you out along with your family including your grandchild as innocent casualties of street war. At least that situation is dead also.............MIght sound, harsh but get real BAHAMAS............Oh, and gun toting KEITH BELL, why you don't answer your phone? Oh, i forgot, the PLP won by a land slide and you still investing how the FNM lost rather than do the job you were APPOINTED (PROMISED) to do, not elected........suck teet....

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positiveinput 8 years, 3 months ago

1plpgovernment, you were very harsh however your point taken. Still when is it that a Suspect is automatically a criminal. Just say your child or family member is picked up by the police just for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. His dress code fits that of an arm robber. Now instead of being a suspect, by your judgement the police sees him as a CRIMINAL; what would you say if you was Ms Mckenzie now.

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1plpgovernment 8 years, 3 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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positiveinput 8 years, 3 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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Mercy 8 years, 3 months ago

@1plpgovernment. You are a prime example of why some people should never be able to open their mouth and talk or put there fingers to a keyboard and press enter. I had to create an account just to tell you that you are ignorant and a sad human being. I don't care what this young man did a country is to be governed by law and order, and just like he has no right to take a life neither does the police. How do you think this woman would feel if she read this. I know her personally and she is a very very nice lady. Always soft spoken and respectful. You don't choose the way your children turn out so please please refrain your stupid and unnecessary comments for an uncivilized paged.

In my grandmothers voice " Young girl you sound ignorant and uncouth shut up and go in the corner and read a book or do something productive."

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1plpgovernment 8 years, 3 months ago

this country is governed by WHAT????..............Link Viktor Kozeny, Samuel Knowles and Brave Davis tell me if that equals law or order, but then again you dont know that ignorant is not knowing. You call yourself MERCY, I call you an _ .I am voicing or typing aggressive, this boy is known to be maliciously aggressive.........and if would like to know i am very in the know. The facts that u dont know as yet is how he died, maybe asthma. but I say One less problem. Go converse some more with your grandmother maybe u would realize that she was speaking to YOU.

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mynameis 8 years, 3 months ago

While condmening 1plpgovernment for his or her lack of humanity is appropriate with respect to his or her comments directed at the mother of the deceased young man, at the end of the day let us recognize a fundamental truth about our society: we are a violent people, and because of that violence we have become callous about the loss of life! Listen to the casual conversation of those around you. Hence, what 1plpgovernment has expressed at the beginning of his or her comment is what countless Bahamians think - "one less %$#&* to deal with". It is that violence in us that permits us to be cold and heartless, unsympathetic and unempathetic to a mother losing her son. We as a people think it appropriate for the police to "beat" persons in custody, or are unfazed in our daily lives when we hear about situations like this. We, the collective, should be absolutely outraged when we hear about something like this and demand accountability of the Police. But we don't. Why not? Because we are a people who, while wielding the Bible like a hammer and quoting sparing the rod and spoiling the child ad nauseum, do not even blink when we see a parent physically disciplining a child in public. We have been inculcated with the view that in certain situations it is not only right but necessary to use physical force to impose our will on others. When the physical force is wielded by those in uniform, we justify the brutality by relegating those unlucky enough to be in custody to a less than "decent people" standard. Hence there will always be sentiments expressed like that from 1plpgovernment.

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gigi 8 years, 3 months ago

WE ARE NOT LIVING IN AN UNCIVILIZED NATION ALTHOUGH THE CRIMINALS ACT SO AT TIMES, I COULD UNDERSTAND THE ANGER WHEN CRIMINALS PERFORM ACTS ON 'WE PEOPLE IN WE BAHAMAS- BUT WE HAVE LAWS AND ALL AND EVERYONE AND EVERYTHING MUST FALL UNDER THOSE LAWS, THE LAW IS THERE FOR THAT GREIVING MOTHER ALSO, MR. BELL DID NOT COMMIT ANY MURDER OR CRIMES SO WHY TARGET HIM; AFTER THE ACT OF CRIMES IS DONE ITS ALREADY TOO LATE FOR THE VICTIM, BUT THEN THE JUDICIAL SYSTEM IS THERE FOR RETRIBUTION; AGREED THAT THE NEW GOVT MUST MAKE ITS AGENTS ACCOUNTABLE TO ANSWER TO CRIMES DONE BY THEM, I AGREE, BUT WE NEED MORE COMPASSION AND LOVE; IT SCARES ME WHEN I HEAR COMMENTS LIKE THE ONES MADE BY 1PLPGOVERNMENT; JUST TO KNOW I HAVE TO LIVE IN THIS SOCIETY WHERE THE PEOPLE HAVE GROWN TO BE CALLOUSED, HEARTLESS AND COMPASSIONLESS, THAT CUDDA BEEN MY SON, AND SHE WOULD THROW ME UNDER THE BUS THE SAME WAY; I ALWAYS REMEMBER THAT I HAVE FAMILY, AND THE VERY WORDS I RELEASE WILL COME BACK AROUND TO ME; AS LONG AS YOU'RE NOT DEAD YU AINT PASS NUTTIN YET...SO BE CAREFUL BAHAMIANS, SEEK AND FIND LOVE AND COMPASSION AGAIN PRAY FOR THAT MOTHER , IF YOU CANT SPEAK ANYTHING POSITIVE ZIP YUR LIP.

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JohnBrown 8 years, 3 months ago

keep the lies and untruths flowing and use our site as much as you like so long as you aide in the miseducation of the masses. But enough people saw the light ... now something on a lighter note to read: Mis-Education of The Negro by Carter G. Woodson

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positiveinput 8 years, 3 months ago

With the comment made by monkbh, how is it that a comment post by him/her 45 minutes ago falls in between two comments post 4 hours 14 minutes ago and 3 hours 28 minutes ago. Shouldn't his comment reflect a time in between the other two posts.

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concernedcitizen 8 years, 3 months ago

i am sorry for the mother and if the police were wrong they should be charged !!my question is how come we never see the fathers ??? crime is not FNM or PLP its us ,,it is our sexual habits and morals that are producing these crimminals ,,we are running a 65% illegitamate rate ,,that means for every 1000 baby,s 650 don,t have a father figure ,or if they do a barely present one ,,,

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leeza 8 years, 3 months ago

We talkabout police brutalitybut tell me how many criminals would come out and confess to crimes if they are not forced to. I believe the police uses necessary force for the necessary results, This boys mother said by her own admission thather son was no saint, He was a bad boy with a long rap sheet. We dont know how many innocent persons are decesaed because of things that he had done. His blood is not innocent, where he is now he will not harm anyone else. By the way where is Tyrone Senior is he in the house are there any Tyrone Seniors, The men who contribute you the conceiving of children but are not there to influence their up bringing. I hope everyone here ( the men) who commented and have fathered children are there for them because it all starts in the home.

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spoitier 8 years, 3 months ago

There still have to be some intergrity to the process or innocent people will confess to crimes that they didn't commit and don't say no one would because this have been proven over and over that people will say anything if the punishment is to great. Now something have to be done about crimes in the Bahamas.

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spoitier 8 years, 3 months ago

Bahamians talk about the facts that fathers are not involve in the child life and this is both the fault of the government as well as the father because the father have a moral obligation to be in his child life, but the government don't charge enough child support to fathers in the country. If fathers start seeing enough of their checks going to child support they would feel more obligated to be in their life also if they don't pay then they need to be lock up because most of them are probably involve in other crimes anyway. Now men will start to pay attention to where they sow their oaths, because it isn't hard to prove who is the father and trust me now the police will have ammunition against a lot of criminals and these defense lawyers wouldn't have much of a case to defend.

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JJSherman 8 years, 3 months ago

My prayers and my heart goes out to you Joanne, as a Mother, I don't know what I would do . But Joanne there is a God, who has promise to never leave or forsadke us, and that alone should give the comfort and peace that you need. I know that wether or not you beleive what you believe, that God is in control. Lift up your son to a God who has given you the time that you had with him. For vengence is not ours saith the Lord, pray for the Police that was to protect your son, and allow our God to take the vengence that is not ours saith the Lord. Love the Lord with all of your heart and soul and spirit, for in the end they will get what is coming to them. My prayers is for the Lord to give you the peace that will be beyond your understanding, for as you know that this world is not our permanant home and we are only here for a short time, and just passing througn, prepare ye yourself to meet your son in glory one day. God bless you and give you the peace that you need, in the name of Jesus

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JohnBrown 8 years, 3 months ago

“It’s all right to tell a man to lift himself by his own bootstraps, but it is cruel jest to say to a bootless man that he ought to lift himself by his own bootstraps.” ― Martin Luther King Jr. I say that to say this, It is easy to say what fathers need to do for their children and how the government should take money from the pay checks of the fathers. However, did you consciously give serious thought to the results and bread earning capacity of the father before you opened your unprotected legs? Or were you just like a clueless animal in heat? I do believe that is irresponsible to assert such venom against the male population when their numbers of unemployed – semi-skilled and unskilled - ill prepared, fatherless, ill-advised, members of an endangered species, are so high especially amongst youthful fathers, whilst those selfish fat beneficiaries of this twisted system continue exploiting but on not reaping their just due of pain from Bahamian youth for said exploitation and victimization of our young work force: most of our young men are ready, willing and able to be trained and used productively if given a fair chance, but only for fair and just compensation with a window of reachable opportunity for future advancement. They will not accept peanuts, because peanuts only serves to make young men mad and can easily turn them into criminals with a guns in hand due to feelings of worthlessness and low self esteem and thereafter they become a target for police brutality. Steel Pulse said, "me no feel sorry for the bodyguard..." life is more that a cube its a circle.

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keishae 8 years, 3 months ago

Its is sad to have to read about so many police brutality something needs to be done within the police force. Some of these victims may innocent and their being killed by the police who is suppose to serve and protect.

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concernedcitizen 8 years, 3 months ago

the police are not picking up choir boys !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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JohnBrown 8 years, 3 months ago

Let he who is without sin cast the first stone...!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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concernedcitizen 8 years, 3 months ago

we r a small country ,the police know who the bad guys are ,,yes i,m man and i sin ,but i can almost guarantee 100% that today i won,t be arrested for murder ,armed robbery ,stealing ,domestic abuse ,rape etc etc ,,why because i don,t do those things

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JohnBrown 8 years, 3 months ago

If the police were intentioned upon cleaning up Nassau's crime problem it could be done within less than a month. But its a matter of supply and demand. And the real gansters are able to keep their jobs by instilling fear, which would give rise to employing more gansters, while the people are left reeling on the ropes. Fear produces for then more job security. If you stop crime then the people could justify demanding a reduction in the police force's numbers, which would mean unemployment for many of those scavengers. Life could be sweet...yes it goes round full circle

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leeza 8 years, 3 months ago

You can not make anyone a criminal its a choice I dont care what they are paid or not paid. Everyone in life have and go through misfortunes thats life now its up to the individual to decide whether they will allow that misfortune to be a stumbling block or a stepping stone. You find females who were molested and some use that to justify their promiscuity while others who were molested decide that even though they experience that misforutne they will give back by being a support for other females with the same encounter. I say Lord forgive me because I read what JJsherman wrote and I say you need to go and sit down and speak with the victims mother because I doubt she would be coming here to read what you wrote.Again I say to the men and males here even if you have not fathered these youngs boys try to play some role in their lives so that they would have some idea what it is to be man responsible and all and those who have you females in their care affirm them let them know they are beautiful and show how a man is to treat them so no hully gully could swing them.

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