A DECISION was taken on Monday by the City Council to suspend two female officers of the City Constabulary Department who had a scuffle at City Hall last September in the view of councillors.
A majority of councillors voted in favour of Mayor Patricia Chase-Green’s recommendation that Inspector Petal Bankroft be suspended for seven days and Constable Crystal Barton for two days.
It was on the afternoon of September 26, 2016 when the statutory meeting was in session that a loud commotion was heard in City Hall’s compound. It is alleged that Barton was not on duty and may have been loitering in the compound.
According to a source, Bankroft asked Barton to leave and when she delayed in following through, a scuffle ensued and the inspector chucked the constable. The source offered that Bankroft does her work diligently and is quite firm.
But another constable, on the day in question, told this newspaper that it was time for someone to “put the inspector to her place, so to speak.” The constable said Bankroft was in the habit of “making life hard” for others and speaking to them in a harsh manner.
The Legal Affairs Committee had met on the matter and had recommended that the two officers be charged internally. However, the mayor on Monday asked councillors not to take this decision. “This whole thing here (the report) is untrue. Totally untrue! For the report to say that she gently touched the young lady is not right. There are eyewitnesses of councillors who saw the whole incident. The officer held the young woman by her uniform and chucked her in the yard,” said the mayor.
“This council will now take a decision as to the disciplinary action to be taken against the officers. I am not accepting anything else. Had I not been behind this matter to come here to bring finality to it, it would not have been here today,” Chase-Green continued.
The mayor said if Chief Constable Andrew Foo knew that the matter could have been dealt with departmentally, he should have charged both of them at the said time. “That has not been done and I am not stepping backwards,” she said.
Meanwhile, Councillor Noelle Chow-Chee offered that she could not understand how persons in such senior positions can get into a fight. “If I am placed in a senior position, I have to conduct myself with a certain amount of dignity. I cannot see someone in such a position getting into a fight. I figure that this person should not even be there.”
The councillor unsuccessfully urged the mayor to increase the penalty to send a strong message to the officers.
“If we are going to discipline this person, it has to be meaningful and seven days don’t cut it. For me, I would give her 21 days. The minute you tell them seven days and they coming back to do the same thing, is nonsense. These people have to know they serve our city and we cannot accept this indiscipline. If I was the Chief Constable, I would have sent her home.”