Former St. John resident Patricia James is crying police brutality in the recent arrest of her 18-year-old brother, Estate Adrian resident Demetrius Blackwood, for first-degree aggravated rape.
Blackwood was arrested on Thursday, Feb. 9, at his home in George Simmonds Terrace.
According to James, a V.I. Police Department (VIPD) officer, whose full name she did not know, has been harassing her brother and other kids his age in the neighborhood.
Hes made it his mission that hes going to clean out all the thugs from the neighborhood, said James. Hes been harassing them any chance he can get. Hes been trying to catch them with weapons and drugs, which he will never find because they dont exist.
On the day of the arrest, the officer knocked on the door of Blackwoods home, according to James, who acknowledged she was not at the scene but heard the story from witnesses.
Blackwoods friend answered the door and told the officer he would have to ask the homeowners permission before allowing the officer to enter the residence.
The officer, who was wearing gloves and carrying a baseball bat, then entered the home, according to James.
Officer Had Baseball Bat
He came in the house and started going off on my brother, said James. He started destroying stuff in the house, going off and beating my brother with the bat. He never told him what he was doing there.
VIPD officer Kent Hodge accompanied the other officer, said James.
Kent Hodge was holding my brother back from being able to fight off the officer, she said. He was restraining him, and Hodge had a machete.
According to published reports, VIPD officers were looking for a 12-year-old girl whose mother reported her missing. The ring leader of the assault, then opened my brothers bedroom door and found what he was evidently looking forhis niece, said James. He slapped his niece and then proceeded beating my brother worse.
The officer told Blackwood he would kill him, James added, but Hodge told him hed better not go that far, she said. Hodge told a teenager who was walking by Blackwoods home at the time of his arrest that if he knew what was good for him, he better get off the street, according to James.
The teenager, who is the alleged rape victims first cousin, told Blackwood he would testify for him in court, said James.
What I want to know is what they were doing there, said James. If theyre trying to say that the girls mother called and reported her missing, how, in an hours time, did they figure out that she was at my brothers house? She was dropped off there.
Blackwood was preparing to meet his father at the inspection lane at the time of the incident, according to James.
Stove Left On
My brother was cooking chicken when the police came in, and when they dragged him outside, he told them that the stove was still on, she said. They said, no, let the motherf***ing house burn down. Had my father not gone home looking for his son because he had an appointment with him, the house would have burned down.
The abuse continued at the police station, according to James, who said that police told her brother if he didnt sign a confession that they had written, they would never let him leave.
My brother was already fatigued, already in fear of his life, and they told him he couldnt talk to anybody until he signed this piece of paper, said James. Now, thats the only evidence they have saying my brother had sex with this girl, which he did not.
Arresting Officer Not in Court
Blackwood spent the night in jail on St. Thomas, and at a hearing the next day, VIPD officer Aaron Krigger, who is listed as the arresting officer on the police blotter, testified.
According to James, Krigger was not at the scene when her brother was arrested.
Aaron Krigger showed up at court, and thats another red flag, she said. Why didnt the arresting officer show up?
When Blackwood was released from jail and returned to his home, the officer who arrested him was waiting for him, according to James.
He was sitting in front of the driveway, and my dad called the police and told them, she said. I have no idea why he was there.
James, who lives in Georgia, said she has left several messages at Leander Jurgen Command for Officer Aaron Krigger, but has received no response.
If this goes to trial, I will be flying to St. John, she said. I will get a lawyer, and I will be by my brothers side. I dont want him to have a public defender, because I dont want anybody that is involved with the government defending him.
James said she is glad she no longer lives on St. John.
Im glad Im off the island, she said. Unfortunately, my little brother is still there. St. John has taken a turn for the worseits so corrupted.
In light of her brothers arrest, James said she hopes there will be an investigation into possible corruption in the police department.
I just want somebody to look into all the corruption, she said. You cant make a puzzle if the pieces dont fit, and they are not fitting. They need to admit that what they did was wrong, because they have completely destroyed my brothers character.
VIPD spokesperson Sgt. Thomas Hannah said he was not aware of the claims made by Blackwood, and therefore could not comment on her allegations.
All I know is that I got information concerning a 12-year-old female who had sexual relations, and thats against the law, he said. They said it was consensual, but the law is specific. No person under the age of 18 can consent to sexual relations.
According to published reports, Krigger testified Blackwood did pick up the 12-year-old girl from school, and that both admitted to having sex on Jan. 31, but not on the day of Blackwoods arrest.
A rape kit was performed on the girl at Myrah Keating Smith Community Health Center, and a physical examination indicated she had been sexually active, according to a published report.
James denies that her brother ever had sex with the girl.