A woman and her young family were ‘terrorised’ when armed police came to her home late at night to arrest her, she claims.
And, Emilia Tibbetts told the Caymanian Compass on Wednesday, the reason for the arrest was that she had not paid a $20 ticket for failing to display her road licence.
Emilia’s ordeal began at about 11.15pm on Sunday when she and husband Steve were asleep, with baby Dario, in one room of their home on Finch Drive, West Bay and their three other children were asleep in another room.
They were woken by a loud pounding and banging on the doors and windows and had no idea what was going on, she said.
Husband Steve looked through the window and said he could see police outside, Emilia said.
When he answered the door he was confronted by a female police officer.
‘She started shouting and yelling at the top of her voice that she was not looking for Steve. I heard her say she was looking for me,’ said Emilia.
When Emilia went to speak to the officer, she was told she was being arrested.
‘I asked her what I had done because I could not remember doing anything wrong.
‘She did not say what it was for. She just kept yelling and said I had to come right now,’ Emilia told the Compass.
Emilia says she noticed policemen standing behind the female officer and that what shocked her was, she claims, they were armed and wearing bullet-proof vests.
‘I could not believe what was happening. I went into shock. I was not sure what it was all about,’ she said.
Emilia says she was eventually asked if she did not remember having to pay a traffic ticket, but she did not remember.
It turned out that Emilia had been given the ticket some months earlier but, because of stress at the time over baby Dario suffering from a heart condition, had forgotten about it.
Emilia claims the female officer did not want to hear her side of things, was unsympathetic and refused to even let her get her medication when the stress of her situation brought on attack of asthma.
‘I was begging to be allowed to get my medication and she refused and told me to get in the police car because she was arresting me,’ Emilia told the Compass.
Emilia was taken to West Bay police station, given bail and allowed to go home but claims that the incident was so upsetting that none of the family was able to sleep the rest of that night.
‘It was unreal. It was like a nightmare,’ said Emilia.
‘I have never had problems with the police and always felt safe and protected with them around me.
‘But after what happened on Sunday I don’t know how I feel,’ she said.
‘They had terrorised us so bad that they have made us have doubts towards trusting them,’ she added.
Emilia went to court on Tuesday and paid the $20 ticket, she said.
She has since spoken to a lawyer about the incident and has made a formal complaint to the RCIP who have issued a statement.
‘The Commissioner is taking this allegation very seriously,’ said the statement.
‘An investigation has commenced into what exactly took place on Sunday night at the complainants address.
‘The RCIPS has strict guidelines concerning the authorisation of firearms and firearms operations.
‘The matter has also been referred to the complaints and discipline department’ the statement added.