(CNS): Two police constables who were on desk duty until their trial and then suspended after they were found guilty of using excessive force during an arrest and tasering a suspect twice have been placed back on active duty, officials from the RCIPS confirmed Friday. Although Austin Etienne and Cardiff Robinson were both found guilty by Magistrate Phillipa McFarlane of the charges, yesterday, following a sentencing hearing, she recorded no conviction or sanction against the cops, ordering them to pay just $400 each for court costs for the trial, so that the men would not lose their jobs
In a short statement the RCIPS said, “Yesterday, 9 March, the court determined that the recent convictions of police constables Austin Etienne and Cardiff Robinson would not result in any custodial sentence, and further, that the convictions themselves would not be recorded. Therefore, the suspensions of both constables that arose from those convictions have been rescinded, and they will be returned to active duty.”
There was no indication about whether the two officers would face any internal discipline, as video footage from the Taser-cam and the helicopter on the night of the assault, which was played during the trial, showed a chaotic scene in which the officers appeared to encourage the excessive use of the weapon on Lawson Scott as he was arrested in East End.
The words “burn him again” were clearly audible on the footage, even though Scott was not resisting arrest. He was seen to be dragged from the car writhing from the 50,000 volts going through his body, with the Taser burr still attached, while four body-armoured officers surrounded him when he was tasered again.
During her ruling Thursday, the magistrate said she found some of the things said to Scott on the night of the arrest as “most distasteful” but she determined that the officers’ behaviour was a one-off incident and made the decision that despite convicting them on the evidence, she would not record that conviction or impose any kind of sentence or fine.
Robinson is currently also involved in a civil dispute with a senior officer in the RCIPS. Robinson has claimed that he was subject to bullying and abuse at the hands of Chief Inspector Frank Owens and that he physically assaulted him on two occasions. When the DPP refused to prosecute his case, despite finding there were grounds for an assault, he filed a civil action. The case was adjourned last August to allow for further witnesses to appear but it has not been listed since.