By TANYA SMITH-CARTWRIGHT
AN attorney has decried the arrest of her client who held a two man protest in Rawson Square and outside Government House, saying his rights are being violated.
Paul Rolle was arrested on Tuesday after video circulated online of him in front of Christopher Columbus’ statue outside Government House. In the video Mr Rolle, who said he is with Coalition to Save The Bahamas, said the group was fighting against “injustice against all people of colour around the world.”
Holding a chain in his hands, Mr Rolle, who was standing next to another man, said tomorrow the group will remove the Columbus statue as well as the statue of Queen Victoria from Rawson Square which they view as symbols of oppression.
On Tuesday, Commissioner of Police Paul Rolle warned Mr Rolle not to go ahead with any action in Rawson Square or in front of Government House in the coming days, adding that his prior request to protest had been denied.
Yesterday, attorney Maria Daxon demanded her client be released from “unlawful custody”. Mr Rolle, she said, is being held for trespassing at the Wulff Road Police Station.
“He has the right to freedom of speech and the freedom of movement,” Ms Daxon said.
“They cannot restrict those points at all, but they decided to lock him up, because he is Black. We are allowed to walk and stand on the sidewalk without interference. That is considered to be a public place. You cannot trespass in a public place. They have locked him up without basis and it is unlawful.
“The charge is unlawful, first of all. What is happening is that he went to Parliament Square and also in the front of Government House to protest for the statues of Queen Victoria and Columbus to be taken down. They decided to lock him up for trespassing.”
At approximately 3.30 pm, at the time of her interview with The Tribune, Ms Daxon said her client was still in custody without any word of his release from police.
“At this hour my client is still in custody,” she informed. “We are trying to find out why he has not been released. I spoke to the superintendent at the Wulff Road Station and he told me he was going to get back to me from this morning and nothing has happened.
“Several attorneys have contacted me,” she continued. “I have a team of lawyers ready to help. They have committed to assisting me. One of these attorneys sent me a video of a white man protesting in front of Parliament and none of the officers said anything to him. He had a sign up and no one locked him up. Do you see what’s going on here? The white man was carrying (on) bad and no one stopped him.”
Ms Daxon, a former police officer, is puzzled about why the other man in her client’s video protest was not arrested along with him.
“Why wasn’t the other man in the video not locked up?” she asked. “Why only my client is locked up? An officer asked me the same question. Shouldn’t the two of them be in custody if they were together and doing the same thing?”
Ms Daxon said she was going to see her client after 5pm yesterday and was hopeful she would have some answers about his release then.