Blacktip Island’s police office and jail has been the scene of three days of anti-police violence protests by several island residents. (photo courtesy of 3wisemen)
A crowd of several Blacktip Island residents protested police violence outside the small Caribbean island’s police office and jail for the third day Thursday, authorities said.
“It started with Harry Pickett and Angela Fisher shouting and such outside the jail,” Customs officer Noddy Bolin said. “Next thing, two more folks joined in. Near as we can tell they’re protesting violence in general. I don’t think there’s ever been a case of police violence on Blacktip.
“The jail’s pretty out of the way, so I don’t think anyone has any problem with it. Or notices,” Bolin said. “The signs are funny, though. One says something about ‘stoop violence.’ And Harry’s been waving one that says ‘know peas’ or some such nonsense.”
Police officials say there are no plans to disrupt the protest.
“I’m not at the office much, so they don’t really interfere with me doing my job,” Island Police Constable Rafe Marquette said. “I was kinda surprised to see them there again this morning. There was talk of a curfew, but that seems like a lot of trouble if they’re not tearing anything up. Folks want to let off steam, that’s their right.”
“It doesn’t seem to be about me anyway, they just want to be part of what’s happening elsewhere,” Marquette said. “I’m the lightning rod, I guess. Worst incident I’ve been mixed up in was when I used a wheelbarrow to get Dermott out of the Sand Spit after he broke in, drank all their rum and passed out. I scraped his knuckles pretty good, but there was no other way to move that much bulk.”
Protestors agreed their anger was not aimed at Marquette.
“It’s nothing personal toward Rafe,” Fisher said. “There’s just so much police violence in the world, we felt like we had to do something. And since we can’t leave the island, well, the jail seemed like the best place to protest.
“Honestly, we were hoping for a bigger turnout,” Fisher said. “There’s still time for a few more people to join in — we’re here for as long as it takes to, well, do whatever.”
Long-time residents dismissed the protest.
“Closest we ever had to a riot was when the barge couldn’t dock for a month and all the bars ran out of hootch,” Elena Havens said. “That wasn’t pretty, but Rafe de-escalated it right quick. Threatened to call James Conlee’s mom, and that was the end of it.
“Rafe did get semi-physical when Jerrod busted into the Ballyhoo with a cast-iron frying pan, yelling about smiting sinners or some such,” Havens added. “But all Rafe did was block Jerrod’s path and tell him God wanted him to put down the pan.”
The island’s store owner, however, is taking matters more seriously.
“This island’s going crazy, and I’m more than prepared for any looting,” store owner Peachy Bottoms said. “I’m standing guard outside the door with my broom, and I won’t hesitate to whack anybody who looks like they might act up.
“Locked up all the spray paint and matches, too,” Bottoms said. “Eggs are being doled out two at a time. And if things get out of hand, I may not have pepper spray, but I do have a bunch of jalapeno juice.”