St Vincent’s United Nations Ambassador Briefly Arrested in New York City

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - March 28, 2012

Above: Ambassador Camillo Gonsalves (UN Photo/JC McIlwaine)

By the Caribbean Journal staff

Camillo Gonsalves, St Vincent and the Grenadines’ Ambassador to the United Nations, was arrested and detained for 15 minutes Wednesday by a New York City police officer following an incident near the United Nations.

Gonsalves told the AP that he had entered from his official car to return to his office and was confronted by a police officer, who shouted: “What do you think the barricades are there for?”

According to Gonsalves, the officer followed him into the building, “grabbed him by the neck and shoulders, arrested and handcuffed him, and accused him of disorderly conduct.”

An NYPD spokesperson told Caribbean Journal that Gonsalves, the son of Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, had refused to identify himself to the officer assigned to security outside of that location.

“The officer asked the Ambassador to stop, he refused, he continued and entered into the location, and the officers followed him into the location,” the spokesperson said.

There, the officer reportedly asked him to stop and identify himself. After refusing again, the officer physically stopped Gonsalves and asked him for his identification. After another refusal, the officer instructed him that he would have to detain him and place him in handcuffs if he did not produce identification.

After he refused, he was placed into handcuffs and detained for approximately 15 minutes, until he was identified by representatives from the United States State Department, who properly identified him, the spokesperson said.

The police said there were no injuries sustained or reported and no medical attention was required.

“He refused protocol; he refused to identify himself; he was asked several times to stop by a uniformed police officer,” the spokesperson said.

Because Gonsalves is a UN Ambassador, he has diplomatic immunity.

St Vincent’s Permanent UN Mission could not be reached for comment.

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