Woman Charged with Aggravated Assault, Resisting Arrest, Delaying and Obstructing Police Officer in Seat Belt Enforcement

Susan Ingrid Ellis

During an incident that shocked at least one tourist family and several onlookers in Cruz Bay’s Franklin Powell Park, a 54-year-old St. John woman was arrested on Saturday morning, January 29, around 11:30 a.m. in front of the Loredon Boynes Sr. ferry dock.

Susan Ingrid Ellis, of Estate Gifft Hill, was arrested and charged with aggravated assault and battery, resisting arrest and delaying and obstructing an officer in the course of his duties, according to V.I. Police Department spokesperson Melody Rames.

The arrest stemmed from Ellis’ refusal to properly attach her seat belt, according to Rames.

“The individual was stopped and asked to wear her seat belt properly,” said Rames. “The arresting officer said that she had been told on several occasions to wear her seat belt.”


After being pulled over near the Cruz Bay ferry dock, Ellis allegedly assaulted the VIPD officer with sheets of paper, according to Rames.

“She assaulted the officer by throwing documents at him at the location where she was stopped,” said the VIPD spokesperson. “She was placed under arrest and taken to the station. Once at the station, the suspect was observed again assaulting the officer.”

Ellis was detained at Leander Jurgen Command and later transported to the Bureau of Corrections on St. Thomas. She reportedly spent two nights in jail on St. Thomas and was released following her advice of rights hearing in V.I. Superior Court on Monday, January 31.

Ellis did not file a complaint against the VIPD for use of force, according to Rames. Several individuals, however, witnessed the arresting officer throw Ellis against her vehicle and one tourist found the sight so disturbing she wrote a letter to St. John Tradewinds regarding the incident.

“I witnessed the arrest of a women about 50+ years of age on Saturday, January 29, 2011 down at the ferry dock by a very heavy handed armed local cop,” Deb Schimmel wrote in a letter to the editor (see age 14 for full letter). “It was very disturbing to witness myself as well as my children.”

“My kids were like ‘what is he going to do to her’ as he threw her up against her car, handcuffed her and then took her away, leaving her car parked in front of the dock,” Schimmel wrote.

The arresting officer did submit a use of force report about the arrest, Rames explained.

“The suspect has not filed a grievance against the arresting officer, who did submit a use of force as per procedure,” said Rames. “When an officer says ‘You are arrested’ and that person says ‘Okay, let’s go’ and they go with you, that is complying. Anything above that — if the person says, ‘I can’t go right now’ and you put your hand on their elbow — that is considered use of force.”

“Anything that is against that person’s entire will, that is use of force and will be in an officer’s report which is sent to internal affairs,” said Rames. “The person who was arrested did not file any complaint against the officer.”