ST. EUSTATIUS–Police Force Caribbean Netherlands KPCN maintains that former St. Eustatius Island Councilman Clyde van Putten used a weapon in an altercation with a female customs officer at F.D. Roosevelt Airport on Wednesday, June 5.
“Mr. Van Putten declined to cooperate with controls by a female customs officer at the airport. He had a box with goods with him which the officer wanted to inspect. He apparently became angry and used this box as a weapon by throwing or pushing it against the officer. The officer immediately felt pain in her chest. This has been the reason for his arrest. He was heard about this and sent home after questioning,” KPCN’s Acting Chief of Police Michiel Marchand said Friday.
Van Putten was arrested around 6:45pm and taken to the police station by Royal Dutch Marechaussee. He was released around 10:00pm “after interrogation,” according to a police statement on Friday, June 7.
Van Putten had just returned to the island aboard a Windward Islands Airways International Winair flight when he was arrested for “abuse with a weapon and not complying with a legal order given by an investigating officer,” according to the police statement.
At the time, Van Putten initially declined to comment publicly. However, he issued a statement on the matter on Thursday, June 13.
“[I was – Ed.] unjustifiably singled out by a customs officer, while all of the other 30-plus passengers from the two flights were allowed to pass unquestioned. The customs officer in question approached me in an unnecessarily provocative and unprofessional manner. When I attempted to explain myself to her, she rudely displayed power of authority by physically accosting me with no regard for me as a person. Upon the intervention of the police, I was asked to go to the police station for questioning regarding the incident, complied, and was released afterwards.
“At no time was I in possession of any weapon, nor did I use any weapon, as was suggested in the newspaper article. I have retained legal counsel to take the appropriate action on my behalf,” Van Putten said in his statement.