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Boy, 12, beaten in restaurant toilet Cops arrest relative
Customers at a fast food outlet in Curepe were left in shock and disappointment yesterday, after the staff and security officer’s failure to assist a 12-year-old boy who was being severely physically abused by a female relative in the restaurant’s washroom.
Despite the desperate pleas of customers for the employees to help the boy, who is visually-impaired, the workers refused to intervene and it was only after another security officer arrived at the outlet later on that he was able to get the woman to calm down. Police later arrived and arrested the woman.
According to a police report, at about 2.35 pm the boy, who was seated at a table, was struck on the arm twice by the relative, who then threatened to beat him up.
The boy, who seemed in shock and confused, asked the woman why she had hit him. The woman hit him again and the boy, in defence, tried to grab her hand. The woman then got up from her seat and a little girl who was seated on her lap at the time fell onto the ground and began crying.
Police said the woman did not attend to the crying child, who appeared to be around three years old, but instead grabbed the boy from his seat and hit him again. She then grabbed him by the neck of his jersey, shouted at him and threatened to beat him again. She then told the boy to go to the washroom and when he refused, she pushed him into the washroom and closed the door behind her.
Customers in the outlet, along with staff and the lone security officer, began whispering amongst each other about the incident. None, however, went to the child’s assistance when loud thuds and the child’s horrific screams and cries were heard from behind the wash room door.
“Leave meh alone! Leave me! Let me go!” the boy was heard screaming at the top of his voice.
A woman customer made two unsuccessful attempts to get the staff to help the child. Another customer also could not convince the manager of the outlet to act.
In response to requests from one customer, the security guard reportedly said: “Ma’am, there is nothing I can do.”
One of the eyewitnesses told the Sunday Guardian she was scared for the child’s life.
“I was really afraid that the child would have ended up dead or badly wounded. That was blatant abuse by this big woman and to later know that the child is a special child and is in need of surgery, that real sad man,” she said.
“Imagine I went twice to the workers behind the counter begging them to help this child and they all refused. They did nothing, they said nothing. I started to shout to them and say ‘allyuh waiting for this woman to kill this child until allyuh could do something,’ but still they did nothing.”
One of the eyewitnesses said she observed the woman being verbally abusive (speaking down and rough) to the children, about four of them from one year to 12 years, during the time they were having their meal.
She said it appeared the woman was selling cotton candy. She said while the woman was in the toilet one of the customers and his son decided to buy a cotton candy.
The man went to the boy and purchased the candy for $8, but when the woman came out the bathroom she saw him putting the money from the sale into her backpack.
“The woman accused the boy of stealing the money despite the fact that the boy was pointing to the little boy who he had sold the cotton candy to,” the eyewitness said.
“I heard the boy saying ‘look the little boy have the cotton candy in his hand. Even when the little boy was leaving with his father the boy again told the woman to look. The woman did turn around and look at the little boy but yet still she turned back to the boy and accused him of stealing the money. It was shortly after that the woman attacked the boy out of the blue. Poor boy!”
Speaking with the Sunday Guardian yesterday, the boy’s mother, who arrived on the scene after the police detained her relative, said her son is in need of surgery on his right eye, adding she was currently selling cotton candy to help raise funds towards the surgery. The woman said she left her son and daughter in the relative ‘s care while she went to run some errands before heading to a beach in the west to conduct sales. She said the relative lives in Tobago and was in Trinidad for a few days to help her out.
Asked how she felt about what she heard and saw when she returned to the outlet, the mother said: “I know my child is a harden child but I don’t like what I am hearing. I don’t even hit my son like that. But I don’t want this to go on Facebook you know and I don’t want my face out there.”
An investigating officer at the St Joseph Police Station later expressed anger and disappointment that more eyewitnesses had failed to turn up at the station to lodge a statement after the woman was detained. He called on people to be more responsible and stand up for what’s right, especially where children are concerned.
A team of officers, headed by Cpl Anderson and PC Audain of the St Joseph Police Station, are investigating.
The boy was up to late last night being attended to at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex, Mount Hope.