Marine says Port Authority officer beat him during 'unlawful' arrest
Published: July 3, 2014
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A young marine visiting the territory on leave is calling his arrest unlawful after he believes a V.I. Port Authority officer wrongfully accused him of assault.
Port Authority officer Evans Jackson arrested Kelvin Alphonse Hansen, 19, at 2:55 a.m. Wednesday at the Cruz Bay Ferry Terminal. Jackson charged Hansen, who is from St. Thomas, with aggravated assault and battery on an officer and set his bail at $1,500.
Jackson said that the officers responded to a report that a fight had broken out between two men at the St. John passenger terminal.
When officers arrived at the ferry terminal, a crowd had gathered around the men and the officers tried to break up the fight, according to the probable cause fact sheet.
During the fracas, a person - later identified as Hansen - grabbed the baton tucked in Jackson's utility belt, though the person did not appear to remove it, according to the probable cause fact sheet.
A man approached the officers telling them "That's my brother," and Jackson tried to escort the man out of the terminal area to secure it, the fact sheet said.
Jackson, who said that he continued to try and escort Hansen out of the area, reported that Hansen pushed him with two hands and then continued to try to get into the terminal where the fight was. Hansen then tried to swing at Jackson with a closed fist, and Jackson blocked the hit with a raised arm, the fact sheet said.
Jackson did not write in court documents that he hit Hansen with his baton, and instead wrote, "Mr. Hansen was struck about his head with his baton."
However, Hansen presented a different story.
With a gash on his head, and several bruises about his body from the impact of the baton, Hansen - who was released from jail Wednesday morning - disputed the story that Jackson told in V.I. Superior Court on Wednesday during Hansen's advice-of-rights hearing.
"I still have marks," said Hansen, who was taken to Schneider Hospital after his arrest.
Hansen, who is halfway through his 30-day leave from his post at a combat assault battalion in Okinawa, Japan, said he was on St. John to celebrate Festival activities, which are continuing through the week.
One of his friends, and a fellow service member, was involved in the scuffle, and so he was trying to get through the crowd to calm his friend down, Hansen said.
While officers said they were trying to assuage the situation, Hansen said that they were being forceful, and when he was trying to get through Jackson suddenly became violent.
"Before I knew it, I got a baton to my head," Hansen said.
Jackson initially told Hansen that he was being arrested for disturbing the peace, he said, though the charge later turned into aggravated assault and battery on an officer.
Hansen denied ever grabbing Jackson's baton or ever laying hands on the officer.
"He told me that the only reason he arrested me was because he was trying to protect his job," Hansen said, explaining that the officer only made the arrest after he realized that he had caused Hansen to bleed.
Hansen, who is a corporal with the U.S. Marines, said that the arrest could lead to a write-up or a loss of rank.
V.I. Port Authority spokeswoman Monifa Marrero said that the authority is holding off on making any comment because it is an ongoing legal matter.
"The judge found probable cause, so we're just going to see what happens," Marrero said.
- Contact Jenny Kane at 714-9102 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.