Deputy Police Commissioner Mervyn Richardson was forced to flee from a supermarket in East Trinidad on Friday after a group of shoppers began verbally abusing him.
Richardson, who was in the company of his wife at about 10 am on Friday, was placing grocery items on his trolley when some shoppers recognised him and began shouting and hurling abuses at him, accusing him of picking on Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley and taking sides in the probe. Some shoppers used obscene language as they roundly abused the senior police officer who, with his wife, left the D’Abadie supermarket , forced to go to a grocery where they could buy their food items.
Yesterday DCP Richardson confirmed the incident, telling Sunday Newsday that not only was he bewildered over the reaction of the shoppers but he felt that it was unwarranted. He also warned public officials to make statements that incite was an offence, and called on persons issuing releases to the media to think about the negative consequences of their statements.
“I want to advise persons in the public domain that they exercise caution when making statements that could lead to civil disobedience and a disruption in the country,” he said.
DCP Richardson said, he had to comfort his wife after the unprecedented attack and added, although no official report was made to the police, he will not tolerate such behaviour. He reminded that he was selected by Acting Commissioner Stephen Williams to lead the probe into allegations contained in emails read out by Opposition Leader Keith Rowley in Parliament in opening his no-confidence motion in Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and the Government, assuring that he will continue to be professional in all aspects of the probe.
He said the Opposition Leader was asked by the police to make available a piece of equipment where emails could be sent or received because the probe must be thorough.
Incidentally, DCP Richardson will be acting as Commissioner of Police from today as Acting Commissioner Stephen Williams is attending a Commissioner’s Conference in the Far East.
Yesterday, Attorney General Anand Ramlogan expressed dismay over the incident in which DCP Richardson was verbally attacked and abused in full view of his wife.
He noted, particularly, statements made by Rowley regarding the police’ ability to conduct the probe.
“Doctor Rowley’s reckless and irresponsible statements against the COP and DCP border on incitement to commit a breach of the peace and what we are witnessing is the harvest and fruit of the seeds of social disorder and discontent that he seems bent on sowing,” said Ramlogan. “The police are being guided in their investigation by Deputy DPP Joan Honore Paul and it is difficult to understand why Dr Rowley seems intent on politicising and undermining the investigation instead of simply allowing the police and the office of the DPP to do their work,” he said, adding:
“It is as though he is scared of the outcome and hence the reason for him constantly attacking and discrediting the process.”
Also yesterday, the Police Social and Welfare Association led by Sgt Anand Ramesar condemned the verbal attack and abuse of DCP Richardson and called on the public to remain calm and await the outcome of the probe.