By AVA TURNQUEST
Tribune Chief Reporter
A WOMAN who was allegedly attacked by three plain clothes police officers while she was completely naked filed a writ of summons yesterday.
Lawyer Christina Galanos, representing Lorelee Strachan, and her daughters, Jacquae Strachan and Roneka Pinder, confirmed that the women are seeking damages for unlawful entry, assault, battery, unlawful arrest, false imprisonment and unlawful deprivation of property.
Ms Galanos explained that her clients moved forward with legal action after there was no response from Police Commissioner Ellison Greenslade on the matter.
The women claim that officers barged into their Johnson Road home on June 28, allegedly without a warrant, to search for someone who does not live there.
Police Sergeant 1538 Woods is named as the first defendant; Assistant Superintendent BK Bonaby Jr, the second; Mr Greenslade and the attorney general were listed as the third and fourth defendants.
“Sergeant 1538 Woods proceeded to assault and batter Jacquae Strachan in the presence of her mother, Lorelee Strachan and other police officers by squeezing her windpipe, pinning her chest down with his right knee and punching her about the body,” according to the letter sent to Mr Greenslade and Attorney General Allyson Maynard-Gibson.
“We are further advised that when Lorelee Strachan attempted to remove Sergeant 1538 Woods away from her daughter, Sergeant 1538 Woods assaulted and battered Lorelee Strachan by kicking her in the stomach with such force that she landed several feet away from him on her back on the other side of the room.”
According to the court writ, Lorelee had just finished taking a bath and was only clothed in a towel at the time. The towel “flew off of her” during the altercation, the writ alleged, and left Lorelee exposed in the presence of the officers.
Ms Galanos said the women were then unlawfully arrested and falsely imprisoned at the Elizabeth Estates Police Station and the Central Detective Unit for approximately 48 hours.
She added that police officers also unlawfully deprived Jacquae and other occupants of the home of their cell phones in an attempt to delete any and all footage of the incident.
The initial letter to police does not mention Ms Strachan’s daughter Roneka Pinder; however, Ms Galanos explained that Ms Pinder was added to the writ after it was discovered that she was the leaseholder of the home.
“The plaintiffs have sustained injuries and have suffered great anxiety, distress, loss and damage,” the writ read. “The conduct of the defendants was arbitrary, oppressive and/or unconstitutional and the plaintiffs claim exemplary and/or aggravated and or punitive damages.
“The first defendant (Woods) used excessive, unnecessary and unjustifiable force against the first (Lorelee) and second (Jacquae) plaintiffs,” it continued.
The writ claims that Sergeant Woods and accompanying officers failed or refused to identify themselves as police officers or give Lorelee an opportunity to clothe herself.
Mr Bonaby Jr was accused of making “every effort to conceal the conduct” of Sergeant Woods and accompanying officers by attempting to video footage from the cell phones of all persons present during the ordeal.
It was alleged that the wrongful arrest and false imprisonment was made with malice because the plaintiffs were never informed that they were suspected of a criminal offence, or required to participate in an official interview or statement, or charged with any criminal offence before their release.
Mrs Strachan and her daughter told The Tribune that they filed a complaint at the police force’s Complaints and Corruption Unit on July 1, but were told it could take up to six months before anything would be done.
When contacted by The Tribune at that time, an officer from the Complaints and Corruption Unit, who did not want to be identified, confirmed that the matter was being “actively investigated”.
Both the police and the Office of the Attorney General confirmed receipt of claims on August 14. Mr Greenslade was given until August 26 to respond on the issue of liability, according to Ms Galanos.