Barnett troubled by police brutality incident against elderly couple, confirms IA review

Chris Barnett, the senator with oversight of Guam Police Department, said he watched Kandit’s interview with John and Veronica Patao, and was troubled and pained by what he saw.

The Pataos, an elderly and sickly couple from Yigo, were arrested four days ago by a police officer who allegedly assaulted Ms. Patao at the Dededo police precinct. Ms. Patao is a cancer patient, and also suffers heart issues and seizures. She said she informed this police officer about her health issues, when he informed her of her arrest. She asked him if she could at least retrieve and take her medication in the car.

The couple went to the police station to follow up on an assault complaint they had made earlier in the week against a person known to the Pataos who allegedly assaulted them. That same person, the officers told them, also filed a complaint against the Pataos for assault. The Pataos filed their complaint first and believe the other person is connected to a high-up official in the GPD and convinced friends to turn the case on them.

Following the alleged police assault, Ms. Patao had a seizure in the interview room. Mr. Patao, who was held in an adjacent room, said he heard her fall on the floor and the gurgling sound she makes when she has a seizure. He also said other officers were around and could hear everything going on.

None of the officers did anything for close to half an hour, when one of them finally called medics to help Ms. Patao.

The Pataos said his name badge read “Pangelinan.”

The Guam Police Department is unable to make a statement about the matter until Tuesday, according to spokeswoman Berlyn Savella, who was not on duty today.

According to Mr. Barnett, the acting police chief, Joe Carbullido, informed the senator he has referred the matter to the GPD Internal Affairs division for review. Mr. Barnett also confirmed that Mr. Carbullido has not yet placed Mr. Pangelinan on leave.

Mr. Barnett’s full reaction and statement follows:

“This incident and interview was very troubling and painful to watch.

“I commend the Patao family for having the courage to come forward and share their story, and my prayers are with them.

“No one deserves to be treated like this, especially our manåmko. Public service obligates us to treat our people with respect, and anyone who loses sight of that needs to be held accountable.

“Acting Chief Joe Carbullido has informed me he was made aware of this incident this morning. According to Acting Chief Carbullido, the Guam Police Department’s Internal Affairs is “looking into it” and the officer in question is still on duty. Pending further fact finding, a determination will be made whether to place the ofifcer on administrative leave.

“This incident and others in recent media reports tarnish the hard work of the many good men and women in blue who serve our island. Law enforcement is held to a higher standard. When that standard is not met, the public loses trust in our police force.That’s why I think it’s time for the Committee on Public Safety to take a deeper look into these issues.”


  • Pong li carao si Gran pok pok. Y badge muna tough. Fa’ naan bully si dude gi esquela pat Sina donk ye ya ma lagu my man. Fire Des pues presu. Si Yu’us ma’ ase Senadot C. Barnett

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