A Royal Cayman Islands Police Service inspector testified in court Monday that he arrested a man for using foul language.
Mark Blake, 28, is charged with assaulting Inspector Ian Yearwood, when he attempted to remove the defendant from the car in which Blake was a passenger. The incident took place during a nighttime traffic stop on Dec. 10 last year.
Under cross-examination from Blake’s attorney, Anthony Akiwumi, Mr. Yearwood admitted that it was Blake’s use of an expletive in two comments that led to the officer’s determination that Blake was engaging in disorderly conduct. Mr. Akiwumi argued that no effort should have been made to arrest his client.
Mr. Yearwood said he would not have made the arrest if Blake had made the identical comments without the expletives.
“Help us understand where the public peace was at risk … simply because you don’t like him using swear words,” Mr. Akiwumi asked Mr. Yearwood. “You arrested him, really, for the use of colorful language.”
“Correct,” Mr. Yearwood said.
Magistrate Angelyn Hernandez followed up with her own question.
“It was the use of the f-word that was the disorderly conduct?” Ms. Hernandez asked.
“It was not just the indecent [language],” Mr. Yearwood responded.
“But that contradicts what you just said,” Ms. Hernandez said.
Mr. Yearwood said that other civilians were nearby and could have heard the comments. In his estimation, that amounted to disorderly conduct, he said.
Blake has not been charged with disorderly conduct, only with assault.
Mr. Akiwumi also questioned Mr. Yearwood’s testimony that when he tried to remove Blake from the vehicle, Blake attempted to kick the officer and then punched him in the mouth. A video taken by the driver of the vehicle showed Blake being pepper sprayed but did not show any effort by him to strike Mr. Yearwood and another officer, Julius Blackwood.
Mr. Blackwood testified that the video shown to the court begins after the initial confrontation, when Mr. Yearwood opened the passenger door and grabbed Blake. Mr. Blackwood said he was approaching the car during that point and saw both the police inspector and Blake striking one another.
“Punches were being thrown by both men,” Mr. Blackwood said.
He testified that he also tried to extricate Blake from the car, but the defendant refused, holding onto the seat he was in and complaining that he had not done anything wrong.
Moments later, Mr. Blackwood said, pepper spray was deployed, Blake was removed from the vehicle and then handcuffed.
The trial is scheduled to continue at 10 a.m. on Nov. 21.