The Commonwealth Monday holiday was disrupted for residents of the George and West Street area around 9 in the morning when officers allegedly of the Gang Suppression Unit (GSU) stormed the home of Kariq Tzul. Tzul spoke to us off-camera and said he was at home with his wife and infant daughter when officers outside his home began banging the door down after being told that he was inside by a bystander on the street. When they got inside, one of the officers went after Tzul, allegedly beating and brutalizing him in front of his family and at one point threatening that he was lucky he was not alone, otherwise he would have been killed. They then went for a warrant to search the house, but began the search before they got the warrant, allegedly. The search finished around 2:30 in the afternoon but nothing incriminating was found. According to Tzul, authorities believe he is involved in illegal activity on behalf of the George Street gang but he insists he is clean and is only being targeted because of where he lives and whom he associates with. He went for treatment at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) today and says he will make the standard complaint to the Police’s Professional Standards Branch. Meanwhile, the commotion attracted the attention of neighborhood resident and attorney/human rights advocate Cynthia Pitts, who is also the former Ombudsman and therefore familiar with complaints of police brutality. She told us via telephone what she did after the incident was reported to her and why the Police were wrong in their course of action.
Cynthia Pitts – Human Rights Advocate:
I started by speaking to the officer in charge of the community neighbourhood watch. She said she would speak to the officer in charge, but I thought that was not enough. I thought that if the media heard about it, and the media was out there, the GSU would stop. So I did call one of the media houses.
The Police keep saying that they need the support of the public, that they want the public to cooperate with them, and this certainly is not the way that you get the cooperation. The thing is that regardless of what you think a person might be doing, you might believe that they are involved in some illegal activity, this does not merit you think for us against the person.