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Police accused of 'terrifying' children with 'laser guns'

Police accused of 'terrifying' children with 'laser guns'

The Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF) and its Commissioner of Police, Mr Michael B. Matthews are once again facing heat, after a mother claimed RVIPF officers illegally ransacked her family’s boat and property all while pointing 'laser guns' at her children.

Distraught mother Natasha Chalwell, in a social media post on Friday, October 9, 2020, further alleged that the incident occurred although no adult was present.


Distraught mother Natasha Chalwell in a social media post on Friday, October 9, 2020, further alleged that the incident occurred although no adult was present.

Boat & property ransacked – Chalwell


“This evening my children, on our family property whilst rigging their boat for a planned fishing trip, were approached by two armed police officers who proceeded to ask them a few questions whilst one was pointing a laser at their heads!,” she posted in Facebook's BVI Community Board.

The mother further related that without any permission or notification, the officers boarded the children’s dinghy where they ransacked items, jumped onto other boats belonging to family members and continued their alleged unauthorised forage into a family-owned building.

“My husband had just left the property as they’d forgotten gear at our house just up the hill and my 14-year-old and 9-year old were alone when this took place. Why wouldn’t the officers wait until he had returned or asked to call a parent?” she questioned.

“My kids are absolutely beside themselves. My 9-year-old was hysterical and my 14-year-old tried to ring his dad for help [but] could not get through but luckily reached his uncle but the police had already left. They felt threatened, violated, confused and ultimately terrified by the officers' very abrasive behaviours.”

“How does this happen? How did the ADULT property owners not get called or even me as a parent? Where was the warrant? How do the officers feel justified terrifying children??” the mother went on to question.

Person told to file complaint – CoP Matthews


Meanwhile, Commissioner Matthews told VINO that the mother was told to file an official complaint with the RVIPF.

“I am advised an adult was, in fact, present throughout the search…. The person who complained has been advised how to make a complaint against police if they wish to do so,” the commissioner further said.

When questioned on how official complaints can be made, Mr Matthews said they are made at the Professional Standards team based at Police Headquarters and can be done in person or writing.

“The team conduct internal investigation if required, and present findings/make any recommendations for further action to the Deputy Commissioner. Complainant is updated at conclusion of any complaint as to the findings.”


While the incident was loosely confirmed by Commissioner of Police Michael B. Matthews, he told VINO that the family was told to file an official complain with the RVIPF.

Officers will provide duty statements – CoP Matthews


Over the past weeks and months, the RVIPF has come in for harsh public criticisms over its alleged use of excessive force in addition to poor conduct in the field.

CoP Matthews said; however, even if the family do not make an official complaint, officers are required as standard procedure to provide duty statements once concerns arise.


Over the past weeks and months, the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF) has come in for harsh public criticisms over its alleged use of excessive force in addition to poor conduct in the field.


“The officers involved in the alleged incident are required to provide duty statements as a standard procedure once we become aware of any concerns through any medium, including your outlet. That is the case whether a formal complaint is received or not. Those involved in this allegation have already been required to do this.”

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