Vincentian lawyer ‘battered, bruised’ by NYPD

A prominent Vincentian lawyer and former senator in the incumbent Unity Labor Party (ULP) administration of Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves in St. Vincent and the Grenadines has confirmed his arrest by officers of the New York Police Department (NYPD).

After a court appearance and his release, Ronald Marks told Caribbean Life on Monday that he was arrested late Sunday night in Brooklyn while viewing netball matches between Caribbean teams and meeting friends at the Lincoln Terrace Park in Crown Heights.

In recent years, the Lincoln Terrace Park has become a central meeting place on summer weekends for Caribbean nationals, particularly Vincentians, during netball matches, organized by the Brooklyn-based Caribbean American Netball Association (CANA).

“I’m a bit battered and bruised, but I’m alright,” said Marks, stating that police had charged him with resisting arrest, attempted assault, being in a park after sunset and disorderly conduct.

Marks, who is vacationing in New York with his wife, the court registrar in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, said the presiding judge at Brooklyn Supreme Court “adjourned (the case) in contemplation of dismissal.”

His lawyer, Colin Liverpool, told Caribbean Life that once there is “no reaction (falls afoul of the law) in six months, the case is dismissed.”

On seeing one of his former clients, Darren Dopwell, handcuffed and thrown into a police squad car, Marks said he had inquired about the matter from a female police officer.

He said Dopwell had also shouted to him: “Ronnie, I ain’t do anything, and they lock me up.”

Marks said the police responded that an officer had asked Dopwell to “move, and he didn’t move, and he had an attitude.”

Marks further said that since he has not been admitted to practice law in New York, he inquired about the whereabouts of Liverpool, who is allowed to practice law in the state, whom he had seen at the location a few minutes before.

Marks said as he turned around, he felt his feet “removed from under me” by two police officers, and their knees jammed to his back after he dropped, chest down, on the pavement.

Marks said he did not “hoist a stroke,” adding that, after the police manhandled him badly, they came up with the “trumped up charges.”

“If a client had told me about such an attack, it would be hard for me to believe,” Marks said. “I couldn’t believe the police in New York could act so wickedly.”

Marks said former St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ junior calypso monarch, Orande “Man Kemmie” Christopher, a popular DJ in Brooklyn, was also arrested after he questioned the police’s actions.

“It’s another story how they treated us in the cell, not allowing us to use the bathroom,” he said. “They slammed Darren (Dopwell) against the wall on the same shoulder he had surgery on.”

Marks said when Christopher questioned the treatment meted out to Dopwell, “they told him to shut up and put him in a different cell.

“From that, I learned to shut up,” said Marks, who has since posted images of bruises, sustained at the Lincoln Terrace Park, on the social network, Facebook.

He is appealing to the public for video footages to help bolster a potential lawsuit against the NYPD.

He also told Caribbean Life that he will be filing a complaint with the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau.

Marks is the second prominent Vincentian national to be arrested by the NYPD within the last 18 months.

Former United Nations Ambassador Camillo Gonsalves, the eldest son the Vincentian leader, was arrested the lobby of the building that houses the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Mission to the United Nations after the NYPD claimed the younger Gonsalves refused to go around a barricade in front of the building. Marks’ arrest also comes as a United States federal district judge on Monday ruled against the NYPD policy of stop-and-frisk against Caribbean immigrants, blacks and other minorities.

In a ruling in Manhattan Federal District Court, Judge Shira Scheindlin said the policy was unconstitutional, appointing a monitor to reform the practice.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he will appeal the judge’s ruling.

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