On 12 February 2009, as a police helicopter hovered overhead, four heavily armed cops raided the Grangetown home of jazz musician Victor Frederick, 63, his partner, Andrea Heath and their 12 year-old daughter.
Ms Heath described what happened:
“I heard some scuffling sound and shouting. When I opened the door there were four police officers armed with machine guns which had infra-red sights.
“The whole street had been cordoned off. I could see Victor in his underpants outside with police training guns on him. Other officers trained their guns on me. I was told I would be shot if I moved. It was absolutely terrifying.
“Our daughter was upstairs. She told me later that she had a camera and thought about taking pictures of the police activity and commotion. It’s awful to think what might have happened if the police had seen a camera flash from the upstairs window and assumed it was a gun.”
Mr Frederick was arrested under suspicion of possessing materials likely to be used for making explosives and hauled off to Rumney nick where he was held for 24 hours before being released without charge.
In a published letter to Barbara Wilding, south Wales chief cop, Plaid Cymru AM Leanne Wood writes: “When [Mr Frederick] asked for [handcuffs] to be loosened, he tells me they were deliberately tightened to the extent that he was in extreme pain and circulation was cut off.
“He tells me that the police officers armed with machine guns appeared extremely nervous. They did not seem to have any background knowledge of why they were there. Other officers both in uniform and in plain clothes said they did not know what was going on…The family feels lucky and relieved that all three members are alive.”
And just what suspicious material did the cops find in Mr Frederick’s recording studio? A Mohammed Ali boxing video and a west Indian drink called mauby.
And as for south Wales cops? Still insisting, as they had done for the past six weeks, that officers had acted “in good faith based on genuine concerns”…until yesterday, that is, less than 24 hours after a much-publicised press conference given by Mr Frederick, Ms Heath and Ms Wood. Mr Frederick has now received a hand-delivered letter from Superintendent Bob Tooby, Deputy Divisional Commander of C Division, offering the family an unreserved apology. Bob has also offered to repair the damage the cops did to the family’s home.
Our advice? Tear the letter up and sue Barbara Wilding and her thugs for every penny you can get! But that won’t change much. South Wales cops seem to be out of control. We wonder how many other people have been terrorised by them and how many more will suffer at the hands of these people in “authority” who are meant to “serve” the community…
Resist police repression.