Police Saturday appealed for calm after hundreds of Grenadians braved the inclement weather to protest the beating of a black man allegedly by members of a white family after their dog was accidentally killed in the influential community of Fort Jeudy on the southern tip of the island earlier this week.
The demonstrators were calling for justice for Evans Smith, a driver of a van who was dropping off construction workers on Thursday when the dog, barking besides the vehicle was ran over and killed.
The owner of the dog, a businessman, is reported to have accosted Smith, informing him that he should not leave the scene. But the situation descended into an altercation with the man and three other members of his family physically assaulting Smith in the presence of witnesses.
The police later informed Smith that they were not going to press any criminal charges and that he should look to settle the matter privately or through a civil lawsuit.
But after the story of the incident was aired on local media on Friday night, enraged citizens took to social media complaining that white foreigners were being provided with more rights and privileges than nationals and organised the protest for Saturday.
The authorities have not released the names of the family members involved in the altercation, but media reports said they are investors doing business at one of the island’s marinas.
The police have since said issued a statement calling for calm.
“Acting Commissioner of Police Edvin Martin has ordered an investigation into an alleged altercation that occurred at Fort Jeudy, St. George. Progress on the status of the matter will be made public in an upcoming press brief scheduled for Monday 29th June 2020.
“While the police recognize the people’s right to assemble, the Royal Grenada Police Force is appealing to the general public to be calm as investigation continues in the matter” the statement noted.
The protesters armed with placards are demanding that Smith, who suffered lacerations to his face be given swift justice.
“We want justice and we want it now,” they chanted at the site of the incident.
They have made reference to Dogs Registration and Control Act, which states in part that that an owner or person in charge of a dog must not permit the animal to be in any public place unless it is kept under proper control.
A person who fails without reasonable excuse to comply with the legislation commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of EC$1,000 (One EC dollar=US$0.37 cents).