By Ralph ‘Onz’ Chery
Haitian National Police (PNH) officers dressed in civilian clothing burned at least three vehicles in Nazon, Port-au-Prince on Saturday. The officers were protesting the arrest of five colleagues arrested for abandoning their post in front of Monferrier Dorval’s house.
Dorval, who was the head of the Port-au-Prince bar, was assassinated Aug. 28 in his home. His murder is still under investigation.
The five officers, members a special PNH unit known as UMDO, were transported to the national penitentiary Friday night. Their names remain undisclosed and PNH wasn’t available for comments.
Haiti’s Prime Minister Joseph Jouthe acknowledged the police officers burned vehicles in Nazon in an interview via Tripotay Lakay.
Jouthe said the five officers committed an administrative misstep and weren’t supposed to get transported to the penitentiary without an investigation. He has ordered their release, so their misbehavior can be examined by the police’s General Inspection.
Jouthe also implored the protesting officers to remain peaceful.
“I ask for the police officers to get back to being calm and serene,” Jouthe said. “Especially the UMDO officers, whom colleagues, brothers are in the national penitentiary.”
“It’s not good for us to constantly destroy what we don’t even have,” the prime minister added.
Another group of officers who were tasked with guarding Dorval’s property after his killing also deserted their post in the beginning of September. Bandits then entered the house and stole the Saint Nicolas stick, which symbolizes the power of the head of the bar, among other items. The police General Inspection has also ordered those officers to appear for a hearing.
Photographer Patrice Douge contributed to this piece from Port-au-Prince, Haiti.