With an uneasy calm now hanging over the volatile Norwood/Bottom Pen area, the St. James police say the Mt. Salem and Rose Heights communities are the new criminal hot spots in the parish. "These areas are now in the forefront when it comes to murders, shootings and the lottery scam," said Superintendent Steve McGregor, head of that division. "We have conducted a number of raids in that area and we have arrested several persons for various crimes, including murder."
Responding to recent complaints of police abuse by residents of Crawford Street in Mt. Salem, the superintendent said he seriously doubts the veracity of some of the complaints, intimating that it might be a ploy by criminal elements to get the police to ease up the pressure on them. "Some of the cases could well be genuine, but I believe most are fabricated to make the police look bad," the officer explained. "We will investigate all the complaints, and deal with those that are genuine but the operations will continue until law and order is restored."
In defending the sometime hostile approach adopted by the police, the top cop said that while it is regrettable, it has become necessary, as hardened gunmen who are not afraid to fire on the police populate many communities. "When we enter these hostile environments, we first have to take charge for our own safety," he said. "Sometimes people's rights are abused ... we deeply regret those instances." In speaking to an incident in Crawford Street last Saturday where several women accused the police of gross atrocities, saying the lawmen kicked down their doors, assaulted them, and damaged household items, the officer promised that the matter would be investigated. "You must understand that this is an area where guns are being fired regularly and the men have illegally installed 'sleeping police' to slow down the police," the superintendent said.
"We are now in the process of dismantling these sleeping police to free up the roadway." The alleged victims have reported their version of the incident to the Police Public Complaints Authority and are threatening legal action against the police. Lawmen label Mount Salem and Rose Heights Residents complain of rampant police abuse