The Virgin Islands Police Department’s Bureau of Internal Affairs is investigating an incident that occurred Thursday on Main Street during which an officer used force to restrain “an unruly, belligerent individual who was creating a disturbance,” according to St. Thomas-St. John Chief of Police Darren Foy.
At a brief press conference at Alexander A. Farrelly Justice Center on Friday, Foy said the officer who used force against 46-year old Everette Parker of Bonne Resolution has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the completion of an investigation.
The officer’s name has not been officially released, but he has been identified in the community as Cpl. Dariel Chinnery.
“It is unfortunate any time any officer has to engage in the use of force,” Foy said. “Thankfully no one was seriously injured, neither the officer nor the suspect.”
Multiple videos of Thursday’s incident, which occurred during Main Street business hours, have gone viral, but Foy says the videos do not show the entirety of what occurred. He also said that information provided by witnesses has so far been “limited.”
Foy asked that anyone who can help in the investigation contact the VIPD.
“To assist in our investigation, the Virgin Islands Police Department asks that if you were a witness to the incident, or have any physical evidence, such as a video recording, or have any other information, to please contact the Office of the Chief of Police, or the Internal Affairs Bureau, so that we may ensure a full, fair and thorough investigation,” he said.
The VIPD release regarding the incident stated that as one of two officers responding to the scene attempted to handcuff Parker, he “punched the officer in the face with a closed fist.” The officer then proceeded to use his Taser on Parker.
One video of the incident, however, shows the officer knocking an object out of a non-compliant Parker’s hand, and Parker responding with what appears to be an open handed slap, not a fist. The quality of the video, and the fact that the camera tilts away from the action at the critical moment, make it hard to determine what exactly occurred.
The video does corroborate the police’s claim that Parker continued to resist after the use of the Taser. According to the VIPD release, a secondary Taser, and three blasts of pepper spray, were also used on Parker before he was restrained, arrested and transported to the Roy Lester Schneider Regional Medical Center.
At the hospital, Parker was treated for abrasions sustained from the Taser prongs. He was then taken to Richard Callwood Command, where he was formally charged with disobeying a lawful order, aggravated assault and battery of an officer, disturbance of the peace and resisting arrest.
“The Virgin Islands Police Department will not tolerate force being used against our officers, nor will we tolerate unnecessary force against members of the public,” Foy said.
UPDATE: This story has been edited to add the name of the suspended officer.