The 17-year-old fisherman, whom the Guyana Police Force (GPF) said received burn injuries after the lighter he was playing with caught his jersey and ignited flames while in the Vigilance Police Station lockups, has complained against one of its ranks.
In a statement on Monday, the GPF’s Corporate Communications Unit (CCU) reported that Jaheim Peters, also known as “Coolie-Boy” of Annandale, East Coast Demerara (ECD), has accused one of the ranks stationed at the Vigilance Police Station of torturing him.
“The Police Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) is looking into his claim,” the statement said.
According to the GPF, at about 10:30h on Sunday, Peters was arrested following an investigation into an alleged robbery under arms, in which he was recognised as one of the attackers.
“Peters told investigators that while he was detained, two of his friends were also brought into custody. They were sitting on the prisoner’s bench in front of the lockups with another male detainee when Peters asked one of them for a cigarette lighter, and his friend gave him a lighter,” the GPF said.
According to the law enforcement agency, the other prisoner admitted to seeing when Peters’ friend gave him the lighter but claimed that he only heard when the 17-year-old boy screamed while in the cell alone.
“The police officer on duty at the Vigilance Police Station rushed to the cell and removed Peters while his shirt was still on fire,” the statement added.
Peters, who was subsequently questioned by the Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs), claimed that he had been smoking in the lockups when he fell asleep, and the cigarette caught his shirt.
“Two other civilian witnesses informed the investigators that they had heard Peters screaming from his cell while they were at the station and that when the Police on duty took him outside, they saw fire on his shirt,” the statement concluded.
There has been conflicting information surrounding this incident, with Peters claiming that he was set on fire by a police rank using a lighter.
Hours after a video surfaced with the teenager, the Police Force issued a statement saying that the teen was playing with a lighter, which caught his jersey and ignited flames.