Two plead not guilty to assaulting police

Woman alleges mistreatment by officers

The Courthouse Building in downtown George Town. – photo: Taneos Ramsay

Two people accused of assaulting police over the weekend pleaded not guilty Wednesday afternoon after being brought to Summary Court from custody for their first appearance.

Thor Emil Nickelson, 33, and Cleopatra Covan Bush, 53, were charged following an incident on Saturday, Jan. 14, behind Caribbean Bakery in West Bay.

Nickelson pleaded “guilty with explanation” to a charge of resisting arrest. He pleaded not guilty to two charges of assaulting a police officer and a charge of being drunk and disorderly in a public place

Bush pleaded not guilty to one charge of obstructing police and one charge of assaulting an officer.

Bush told Magistrate Kirsty-Ann Gunn that she, Nickelson and some friends were behind the bakery around 5:30 p.m. or 6 p.m. drinking, talking and having a good time, but not being boisterous. She said officers arrived and told Nickelson they had a warrant out for him. She said all he did was ask what the warrant was for.

Bush said she did not obstruct but she did get involved because, she alleged, one of the officers “threw Thor over the wall” and she asked, “What are you doing?”

She said she was pepper-sprayed and thrown to the ground and pepper-sprayed again. At one point, she asked to use a bathroom and received a rude answer. She alleged that an officer made her head hit against a panel in the police vehicle.

Bush denied spitting at an officer. “My mother did not teach me to spit on people,” she said.

By the time she got to the detention center at 10 minutes before 8 p.m. she was bleeding and she questioned what had been done to her. She pointed to the bandage on her co-defendant’s face and said she wanted the officers to be formally charged for grievous bodily harm.

The magistrate replied, “That will have to be investigated.”

Nickelson was remanded in custody and advised of his right to appeal that decision.

Bush was granted bail with a 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew, a requirement to attend the counseling center and abstain from alcohol.

Trial was set for March 20, with a case management hearing set for Feb. 9.

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