FORMER VIET NAM MARINE HAS LONG STRUGGLE WITH POLICE

This incident occurred 50 years ago during the Viet Nam war era at a time when descriptions such as ‘wounded warrior’, ‘combat stress’ and ‘military post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) ’– [identified later in 2001] were unknown entities. A pseudonym has been adopted to hide the identity of the offending marine who – by todays’ diagnoses and through no fault of his own – would certainly qualify as a contender for all three classifications.

 

In mid-March 1967 I was transferred from a winter posting at Cycle Squad to my second stint on the Beach Squad. This time around my partner was to be Pc 88 Michael Jent with whom I had joined the force in September 1965.

 

New Recruits arriving in September 1965
(l-r)  P.C's Trevor Menzies, Alan Proctor, Mike Jent, Alexander "Sandy"
Sommerville (recently deceased), George Rose, and Brian White
 

Mike and I lived together in the old farmhouse ‘Sandycote’, situated atop the ridgeline directly behind the Paraquet Restaurant at Fritholme Gardens, immediately east of the Elbow Beach Surf Club, Paget. We took the first day to set up our duties with a visit to the criminal records office to read up on last year’s activities and to get our Morris Minor patrol car U9 ready for duty. That same afternoon I practiced with the Bermuda Police Motor Cycle Display & Precision Team in preparation for a show the next day at the Gilbert Institute.

 

         
                           P.C. Mike Jent                                                                                 P.C. George Rose
 

Mike and I kept ourselves busy from the outset introducing ourselves to management and front-desk staff at the hotels and cottage colonies stretching from east to west along the 12 mile South Shore strip. College weeks’ were soon to arrive in earnest by the end of the month bringing with them the chaos and turmoil inherent with the students’ activities. A number of arrests were made and intelligences gathered during those early weeks and we worked variable duty hours depending on the party scenes and criminal activities requiring our attention. It was noticeable that off-duty service men from the U.S. Kindley Air Force Base were particularly active along the beaches wherever the American college kids could be found assembled in numbers. Liquor played a prominent role in the evening beach festivities.

 

 
Horseshoe Bay Beach

One particular event of note occurred on Monday 10th April as we drove into the approach road leading down to Horseshoe Beach. We came upon a man lying in the roadway with his feet outstretched. I later learned his name was Gordy Eugene MARINUS aged 20. I saw that MARINUS was raising two fingers in the V sign and shouting at beachgoers including women and children passing by him on their way to and from the beach. As we approached he tried to stand upright. He staggered and fell to the ground in front of the police vehicle. As I alighted from U9 MARINUS shouted, “Heh. Heh it’s the mother-f***ing cops.”

 

I went to him and quietly told him that I thought he was drunk and advised him to quieten himself and not to use further offensive language. He said, “You mother-f***ing English are all the same.” He continued his swaying motion. His breath smelt heavily of drink. Pc Jent then spoke to MARINUS and he replied, “Don’t touch me you mother-f***er I could f*** you up any time you like.”

 

MARINUS again fell to the ground and rose up with difficulty. He began throwing his arms about and made advances towards Mike Jent in a manner which indicated he wanted to fight. He was making animal noises. He said, “Don’t f***ing touch me you mother-f***er.” There was no pacifying this man; he was wild, agitated and out of control.

 

Mike arrested MARINUS and told him to enter the police vehicle. MARINUS said,“I could f*** you two up right now if I wanted to.” He advanced towards Mike and tried to place his towel over Mike’s head. He finally got into the car but prevented the door from closing by putting his foot in the gap. After trying to leave the vehicle he finally agreed to come quietly and the drive towards Hamilton Station began. A long and violent struggle ensued enroute as was related in Magistrates’ Court the following day.

 

Editors Note  -   We have searched high and low for a photo of Mike Jent and George Rose together in uniform around the time of the incident but drew a black.  However,  the two were actively involved with our Police Drama Gorup around that time and both appeared together as young 2nd Lieutenants in the Drama groups production of Journey's End at the City Hall theatre in Hamilton.

Some of the cast members in Journey's End
Not exactly Beach Squad!
Young P.C.'s George Rose and Mike Jent take to
the stage for the production of Journey's End
 

The Royal Gazette reported that – ‘A U.S. marine who had “just completed a tour of duty in Viet Nam under combat” had a long struggle with police and is charged with three counts of assault on police; one count of offensive words and one count of offensive behaviour’.

 

The court heard a tale of violence in which police officers were punched, kicked and bitten as they attempted to take the young marine from Horseshoe Bay to Hamilton Police Station.

 

Prosecutor Sergeant James Moir related how MARINUS began using abusive language to the policemen telling them “mother f***ing Englishmen are all alike.”  He advanced on one of the officers and tried to place a towel over the policeman’s head.  He was making V signs to passersby and appeared to have been drinking. He continued the abusive language and was arrested. The marine was finally subdued by the two officers – Constables George Rose and Michael Jent – who finally got him into the police car despite him putting his foot in the gap to prevent the door being closed.

 

“When the police car was on its way to Hamilton, MARINUS continued the struggle, and pushed and punched [the driver] Constable Jent from behind almost causing an accident. Constable Rose tried to hold him off but he was hit in the face. The car stopped.  MARINUS punched the officer’s face and tried to fork his fingers in his eyes.  He struck the other policeman [Constable Jent] then forked his fingers and tried to poke him in the eyes. A violent struggle inside the vehicle ensued as he tried to get out of the car’s window. The officers’ were unable to handcuff him and he then dived over into the front seat, punching at Constable Rose. The constable got out of the car and the defendant dived out on top of him. Constable Jent tried to assist Rose but was also kicked and punched by the wild youth.

 

“The officers called for assistance and Sergeant [George] Garrod arrived and drove the vehicle.

 

Sergeant George Garrod
 

Back in the car, the defendant picked up the hardboard message pad and threatened the police officers with it. He said: “I’ll f*** your eyes out with this.” On the South Shore Road the defendant opened the car door and attempted to jump out.  The police stopped the car again and another violent struggle took place. Several civilians stopped and attempted to assist the police but the fight was taking place inside the [small] car and they were unable to help. During the scuffle Sergeant Garrod was bitten on the wrist. The officers’ finally managed to handcuff the defendant who then butted Constable Rose in the chest and stomach near the junction of Stowe Hill and Harbour Road.

 

“The car stopped again and during another violent fight MARINUS bit Constable Rose violently on the arm and tried to bite his neck, but only grazed it.  The officers’ called for more police assistance and only then were they able to convey the defendant to the police station [where identity documents found on his person revealed him to be a U.S. Marine stationed in Bermuda]. The three assaulted officers went to the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital and were given tetanus injections.

 

“The marine stood before the Wor R. H. Lownie with hands behind his back and head bowed as he was charged with assaulting three police officers and heard the evidence against him. Dressed in his vest and fatigue trousers and wearing no socks he said he remembered nothing about the incidents but agreed he was guilty. He was also charged with using offensive words and offensive behaviour. He apologized for his conduct and told Mr. Lownie that, “Bermudian policemen are different to American policemen.”

“A United States Marine Corps Officer appeared in court and told the magistrate that this sort of thing had happened before on the U.S. base. He said he felt the man had a medical problem and noted that he had been on combat duty in Vietnam where he was wounded. He came to Bermuda in December last year. The Officer described the defendant as being a person with a “dual personality.” “He is a good Marine and does a fine job – when he’s sober,” said the Officer.

 

[The Officer further told the court that his marine had needed five men and an overdose of sedatives to quieten him when a similar incident as that requiring his police arrest had occurred earlier on the U.S. Base.]

 

“Mr. Lownie postponed sentencing for two weeks until he had a medical report from the United States base. He said that it is a serious offence to attack policemen. “We have a duty to protect our police force,” said Mr. Lownie who released the defendant to U.S. Marine authorities pending the medical report.

 

Editors note  -  Mr. Lownie was an outstanding  magistrate who had the ability to hand down first class judgments, which according to one source,  none of them was ever successfully challenged on appeal. 

MARINUS was later fined a total of 40 pounds.

 

Commissioner of Police George Robbins
 

Later that month a letter of congratulations was received by Police Commissioner George H. Robbins from the Senior Magistrate respecting the arrest of the very violent U.S. Marine. Commissioner Robbins added a note saying that he was not surprised to learn that it only takes two Bermuda Police officers to equate five U.S Marines.

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