Police brutality will not be tolerated: Commissioner

Pastor Abraham with bandage around his injured head. Photo: Jeremy Pinero/FB

The Office of the Commissioner of Police will not tolerate police brutality and will deal with officers that were involved in a recent incident at Big Bay on Santo.

Acting Commissioner of Police, Colonel Robson Iavro made the statement in response to the issue of alleged police brutality which occurred last Friday.

The incident was initially posted on social media and police were widely criticized by the public. The role of police and the famous slogan, "Polis hemi fren blong mi" was also questioned.

Pastor Jeremy Pinero, pastoring the Luganville Baptist Church recounted what happened to his colleague Pastor, who was the victim of the recent police brutality incident:

"Pastor Abraham is the pastor of Harvest Baptist Church at Sumpora, Big Bay Bush area. Pastor Abraham was violently assaulted, beaten and tortured by Police. This happened in front of his three young children, his heavily pregnant wife, and the whole community.

"Police gave no reason for the assault. They did not even ask for ID nor did they inform Pastor Abraham why he was being beaten and arrested.

"As they approached to assault him, he informed them of his name and that he was a Pastor.

"Police paid no interest in who he was and proceeded to kick him to the ground. One officer beat him over the head with a baton, this split his head right open leaving a 6-inch gash right down to his skull. Bleeding and bruised from the beating he was thrown into the back of a land cruiser and handcuffed to the bed.

"As he was driven to town he was allegedly beaten, slapped, sworn at and threatened. He was allegedly forced to eat dirt as officers mocked and laughed at him. And he was also allegedly forced to eat grass."

Colonel Iavro said police regretted to see what had happened.

He said the officers attended to an incident which occurred in the area and the relatives of the pastor were the ones who stirred up the problems, and threatened another party.

“The pastor is also a crime suspect," Iavro confirmed.

Coincidentally, the incident occurred on the day the Parliament passed the Parliament amendment concerning Police brutality. Minister of Internal Affairs, Ishmael Kalsakau said in Parliament that the legislation will see that any officer who is implicated in police brutality against a civilian will be dismissed instantly.

The Acting ComPol confirmed that the officers implicated the assault will be investigated and dealt with accordingly as per the new amended Police Act.

Officers in Vila will be deployed to Santo this week to carry out the investigations.

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