Police officer acquitted of firearm threat charge

~Prosecutor plans to appeal verdict ~

PHILIPSBURG–Police Officer Leonard Wallace got himself into a bind on May 18, 2017, when a local doctor accused Wallace of threatening him with his police gun and with assault. The case was handled last week and Court of First Instance did not find it proven that Wallace had threatened the doctor in question with his gun.

The Prosecutor in the case called for 80 hours of community service, with a 30-day prison sentence should the community sentence not be executed. The judge acquitted Wallace on all charges after hearing both sides.

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Duncan and Brandon attorney-at-law Safira Ibrahim defended the police officer and said, “At no point did my client use a firearm in such a manner whereby fear could have been created for the so-called victim. My client contests that he pulled a gun on the victim and that he aimed it at him.

“Furthermore, a security guard was on the location where the so-called incident happened. This security guard did not see any firearm. There were no witnesses who could confirm the incident as is claimed by the doctor.

“Early on the morning of May 18, 2017, my client was on the LB Scott Road. At a certain point a car tried to overtake the vehicle of my client to get on the same lane. The car that drove by belonged to the doctor. However, at that point, my client did not know who the driver was that just cut him off. After a few minutes, my client wanted to overtake the car in front of him, which just cut him off, because traffic was moving.

“While Wallace tried to overtake the car in front of him, the doctor started to speed, hampering Wallace from returning back to the right lane. A chase ensued and Wallace drove to the hospital to visit his son. The driver followed him to the parking lot of the hospital where he stopped and stared at my client from across where my client parked his car. With high speed the driver then drove up the parking lot and in the direction of my client.

“Because my client did not know who the driver was and already was confronted with his reckless driving that same morning, my client panicked and felt fear when he saw the driver speeding towards him with his car. At that point he took the gun out of his bag and put it behind his right upper leg, not visible for anyone. He at that point was standing by his car because of the speed the car drove towards him.

“Wallace stepped out of the vehicle and pulled his firearm from his bag. The doctor stopped in front of my client and there was an argument.”

At a certain moment during the argument, the two men identified themselves and Wallace put his gun away.

The doctor rushed to the security at the hospital and informed them that he felt threatened because Wallace had a firearm. He then quickly jumped in his vehicle and left the area. He subsequently filed a police complaint with detectives.

However, the security guard maintains that at no point did he see a firearm.

The Prosecutor said Wallace was guilty of the charges brought against him and wished for the court to honour the sentence requested by the Prosecutor’s Office.

The Prosecutor’s Office does not agree with the judgment given by the court and will file an appeal.

Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/76825-police-officer-acquitted-of-firearm-threat-charge

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