(TRINIDAD GUARDIAN) — Community leader Cedric “Burkie” Burke yesterday appealed to police officers to respect women’s privacy when carrying out raids.
In a brief interview near his Sea Lots home shortly after he was released from police custody yesterday morning, Burke claimed police officers acted inappropriately to his female relatives when they arrested him and raided two of his homes last week.
He said his four teenage daughters and their mothers were asleep at both properties when police arrived. He said male police officers ignored pleas for the women to be allowed to get dressed before they carried out their searches. He claimed they refused and forced the women to expose themselves.
“They forced them to remove the sheets from their bodies, which is inappropriate in any forum. On top of that, they had them with guns pointing at them,” Burke said.
He said that the officers only stopped when a senior officer arrived on the scene and questioned their treatment of the women.
“I think they should have been prepared because they know where they were coming and who would be there. That is my concern,” he said.
He said there should have been female officers present to conduct the intimate searches.
Burke did not seem concerned about how he was treated by the police over the past few days but said he was deeply troubled about what happened to his relatives.
“My two daughters are traumatised. To be 14 or 15-years-old and have to expose your body to men pointing guns at you, they are not accustomed to that,” he said.
Burke said he believed he was detained in connection with a recent shooting.
“Last night, they come to the station and say something about a shooting, but I don’t have an idea what they are talking about,” he said.
He said he and his male relatives are accustomed to being confronted by the police but he felt his daughters should not have to endure such treatment.
“I have always been the target of law enforcement throughout my life. That is not a worry or problem to me,” he said.