(TRINIDAD EXPRESS) — Businessman Naeem Ali has labelled his arrest and subsequent charges for driving under the influence, resisting arrest, and assaulting police officers, as an abuse of power by police officers.
The Namalco Construction Services chief executive officer was arrested in Penal on Wednesday after officers on mobile patrol along Suchit Trace, stopped his vehicle for overtaking a line of vehicles at high speed.
The police stated they detected a strong smell of alcohol and attempted to administer a breathalyser test. They said Ali, in his efforts to resist subjecting himself to the test, tried to evade their detention, assaulting the officers in the process.
When the test was eventually administered, it was alleged that he failed, resulting in him being charged for the offences.
However, On Friday Ali issued a statement claiming that the police version of his arrest was one-sided and that he was in fact the victim of a vicious and brutal assault by persons in plainclothes claiming to be police officers.
“Having never been arrested in my lifetime, far less charged or convicted of any criminal offence, I am extremely concerned about the unprofessional manner in which the police operated. I am compelled to add my voice to the growing chorus of law-abiding citizens who have voiced concerns about the conduct of police officers in their dealings with innocent members of the public.”
He said the matter is now the subject of an official police investigation, having reported it to the Professional Standard Bureau.
“Additionally, I have retained a legal team to represent me and ensure that justice is served. Police officers are not above the law and cannot behave as if they are a law unto themselves, lest we descend into anarchy and chaos. They are not entitled to ride roughshod over the constitutional rights of people and must themselves obey the law if they wish to be respected.”
Ali said he’s concerned that persons dressed in plain clothes and in an unmarked vehicle would be allowed to stop citizens on the roadway at night, and proceed to forcefully attack and detain them without identifying themselves, under the pretence of investigating traffic offences. He added that the use of body cameras by police officers is essential to ensuring that they do not misconduct themselves and break the very laws they are duty bound to obey and enforce.
“As a businessman, I am all too familiar with the risks that I face from criminal elements, and upon being stopped and physically restrained by persons who refused to identify themselves, I reacted as any person in my situation would have to free themselves, and ran to seek assistance from nearby residents. I was thereafter the subject of a brutal assault and other matters, which left me physically, mentally and emotionally scarred. I trust that the relevant authorities will treat my report with urgency and complete a thorough investigation into the incident which has resulted in grave distress to my family and me.”
Ali refuted the charges laid against him and stated he’s looking forward to his day in court.