Gary Philius and Wilfort Senatés, pictured above in red shirts outside the barber shop where they work. Inset is a screenshot from a video showing the incident. Photo: Moise Aimsial
By EARYEL BOWLEG
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE immigration officers who attacked two Haitian men in a barber shop last month are on paid administrative leave.
Immigration Minister Keith Bell said yesterday the investigation into their matter is ongoing and will take “as long as necessary” to ensure the right outcome.
He said putting the officers on paid leave is the appropriate procedure, adding: “People are innocent until proven guilty.”
A video went viral last month showing the immigration officers assaulting Gary Philius, 33, and Wilfort Senatés, 38, Haitian work permit holders who work at Adam’s Barbershop in the Bacardi Road area.
Mr Philius and Mr Senatés filed a complaint with the police after the officers slapped them multiple times.
In the video, two immigration officers walked into the barber shop and struck the men, hitting one so hard that he fell to the ground.
Mr Bell expressed hope on February 15 that the investigation would conclude by the end of the following week, but that did not happen.
Asked yesterday if he is concerned by the officers’ actions, he demurred, saying: “There is a process. The investigation is being done. The officers concerned who have been identified have been placed on administrative leave and until the investigation is concluded I don’t think it is appropriate to comment any further.”