By EARYEL BOWLEG
Tribune Staff Reporter
A 24-YEAR-OLD woman is speaking out after claiming her former boyfriend has been violent towards her, and that she is getting little help from police.
The woman also alleged the man has friends in the Royal Bahamas Police Force who, she claimed, have warned him in advance when a complaint has been made.
Rickia Smith told this newspaper that she recently had a hostile visit from her former boyfriend who allegedly threatened to burn her house down and kill everyone inside.
Police have confirmed a complaint was made and is presently being investigated by the Southwestern Division.
The Tribune spoke with Commissioner of Police Clayton Fernander about Ms Smith’s allegation that an officer or officers may be forewarning the man about complaints. He expressed an intolerance towards that behaviour.
“I don’t tolerate that and if we find that officers are doing that they will be dealt with themselves,” the police chief said. “I’m not going to be a part or sit back and see that anyone is assisting the culprits who we are looking for – that is a no-no. And as we move with that investigation and (if) it is revealed that the officers (are) assisting – the matter will be investigated,” he told The Tribune during a recent interview.
Ms Smith recounted that what she said was a pattern of abuse from her former boyfriend. She said she has asked police to intervene in the past, but has not got “that much help”.
“And then he also has a lot of friends on the police force that normally messages him as soon as he gets an issue or if they hear his name over radio that would forewarn him that the police are looking for him and he would give them whatever side of the story that he’d give them and then that’d be the end of that done,” she alleged.
On September 4, she said, the man in question damaged her car after coming to her home and making threats.
“He would have came to my home about 5.30 that morning, basically wanting me to leave my house with him and he would have gone on to say that ‘oh, his child is in the hospital on a respirator and I need to go carry him to the hospital’ and all these things basically telling me things that would make me feel bad to want to leave because I do have a soft heart when it comes down to his daughter. But I just knew that the story wasn’t making sense. So I would have constantly told him that I’m not leaving - I’m not interested in leaving my home or anything like that.”
She said she went back inside her home and heard rocks hitting her car’s glass.
“He just stood there and just kept smashing stuff and then he came to the door. He would have thrown a few big rocks at the door of my house and started to bam on the kitchen window and he said he was going to burn down my house. He would have killed everyone inside the house.”
She made a Facebook post with pictures of a smashed car window.
Ms Smith also told this newspaper that her car’s radiator cap was missing as well as the cap where the coolant goes; she did not know if he poured anything inside her radiator.
The estimated cost to repair her car’s glass is about $1,000, she said.
She said the pair dated a few years ago and reconnected this year as friends. They do not have children together.
“I was just trying to be there for him because I know that we both knew each other on a particular level, but it just became problematic as usual, when he starts to get angry and aggressive,” she explained.
“We kept going back and forth on that over like the past five months, because he wanted to just be around me but able to do anything that he feels like.”
She said when she tried to give him life advice, he would become aggressive.
“Whenever those conversations come up, it becomes aggressive, or he starts getting into feelings about everything that he’s been through. And then it will be like when he starts to attack me or becomes physical I be like I’m not on this run. I would like for you to leave me alone,” she said.
She recalled one argument in July when he smashed her cell phone.
“I remember one morning at one point he was staying with me. It wasn’t a permanent solution —it was just me assisting again. One morning he came there, he would have slept out – he just came (here) the next morning and he just went through my phone and just spazzed out. So he would have smashed my phone and he would have fought me in the house. Whereas he would have body slammed me, choked me or whatever and I would have fended him off - I went to the station for that.
“And, like I said, in that particular matter, I had access to his Facebook, and I watched this police officer messaged him and say, ‘Hey, what’s going on with you? Your name ringing out over the system. Come talk to me so we can figure this, we could work this out. So we get rid of the problem.’ He would’ve told the police that he did absolutely nothing, I’m lying on his name, and that was that.”
Ms Smith said she went to the police again sometime in August when there was a disagreement.
“He needed a ride somewhere or wanted a ride somewhere, but essentially, I didn’t want to carry him or more or less he wanted to drive but I didn’t want to go in the car with him and I told him that I’m not going anywhere unless I’m driving. And it became a back and forth.
“My sister’s boyfriend would have intervened and told him ‘this is not making any sense – the girl just wants her keys’. So he would have been in the road, he would have carried my car keys with him. I would have kept asking for my keys - he didn’t want to give me my keys. He would’ve also had my bank card and he would have smashed the back windshield glass out of my car.”