Home Commentary Open forum A Reader Criticizes the Actions of Police During Protests

A Reader Criticizes the Actions of Police During Protests


Dear Editor:
I read with astonishment a recently published statement from the Police Commissioner that no arrests were made in connection with the "protests" at St. John markets and restaurants because it would have been "unwise" for police to take action and make arrests because they did not violate any criminal laws.
As well intentioned and sincere in their wish to help the St. John community as I am sure the commissioner and the St. John police are and their very commendable desire to maintain the peace, unfortunately, when confronted with instigators who are clearly trying to test the limits of the community and the rights of the police to maintain order, they need to step up to the plate and enforce the law vigorously if they are to put an early end to lawlessness here and prevent people from having to resort to other means to protect themselves in the future.
Further, there should be no distinction made by officials between businesses that contributed food and drink to the "demonstration" and those that wisely chose not to. They all have the same right to conduct their business without unwarranted intimidation and having criminal acts committed against them and their hardworking employees.
Under even the most lenient interpretation of the law, these persons clearly should have been promptly arrested for trespass and disorderly conduct, at the least, after the business owners reasonably asked them to vacate their establishments and, subsequently, requested police assistance.
Perhaps the business owners now feel that they have been wrongly abandoned by police and that they may need a private security force to assist them next time, which would be indeed unfortunate.
In regard to liability, the failure to take action by the police has actually now opened the St. John municipal government to possible litigation by the business owners to recover the substantial financial losses and loss of goodwill and reputation they have suffered as a direct result of the police not effectively responding.
I am certain that if someone did same thing at an establishment on St. Croix owned by one of these reprehensible characters that have the audacity to call themselves protesters, they would have demanded "justice" and police would have quickly made arrests.
One thing is certain, naming their group "We the People" is a misnomer since they very obviously represent only themselves, and second, the good, kind, amicable people of St. John would never embrace the despicable acts that these thugs committed in the name of justice.
Rob Pfriender
Long Island, N.Y.

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