(EDITOR'S NOTE: Some readers may find it alarming that we named Constable Michael Hayden in this article. However, it was the specific request of Constable Hayden that he be named as he is determined to tell his story, express his views and assert his rights as a Jamaican.)
Constable Michael Hayden is a very worried cop. But he is not scared of gunmen or other criminals. He is afraid of some of his colleagues. He claims they are trying to force him out of his job because of his sexual orientation.
While the 24-year-old constable admits to THE STAR that he is bi-sexual, he says some officers at the Manchester police division, where he is stationed, have been accusing him based on mere suspicion after an incident when he was almost beaten by a group of men in May Pen, Clarendon.
"I went to visit a friend in May Pen and some guys wanted to attack me, so I called Control for help," he says, claiming that his colleagues said he went to see another male.
This was the morning of January 14, 2008. In the afternoon, when he went to work, he reported that his belongings had been thrown out of the barracks where he was staying. "I saw the things scattered on the floor, my cologne was broken. But mi nuh really think nutten of it, suh mi pack up, mi tings," he recalls.
The following day, he went to the doctor to get sick days for a gunshot wound he received some years before while on the job. But when he returned to the station, he was told by a woman who cleaned that she had found his things scattered on the floor.
He says he reported both matters to senior officers at the station but nothing was done.
On January 18, he went to the barracks after leaving work to find his belongings thrown out again; and this time a few items were missing.
Constable Hayden again made a report about the incident, including the fact that some of his items were missing. He reveals he has since written a statement to be submitted as part of the investigation.
However, while he is trying to seek justice by following the law, he says he does not believe anything will be done about the situation as his most recent report was not recorded in the diary. "I am an officer and I took my problem to them and they do nothing," he notes.
Constable Hayden says he is hurt by the "lack of attention" because he has been a dedicated and fair policeman. "I love the Jamaica Constabulary Force. I always wanted to be a policeman. I always wanted to serve and protect the citizens. I do my job well, but the people on the job don't like me," he declares.
He points out that female members of the force have been very supportive since the accusations and problems started.
But the lack of attention he feels is being paid to his case and the constant snickers from his male peers has made him uncomfortable and in fear of his life. "I am worried! If the police can be against you, what about the civilians?" he asks.
He adds that since the rumours have been spreading around the parish, he has received threats on his phone. He has since moved out of the station and gone on a brief leave of absence. But he is still afraid of what he will face when he returns to work. "I do not feel safe when February comes and I have to go back to work because I am still a bisexual," he says.
When THE STAR contacted the Mandeville Police Station, a Deputy Superintendent from the Manchester Division, says he was aware of Hayden's case. He notes however that he was not told about the missing items and that he was not aware of it being reported to another officer for investigation.
The DSP admits that the allegations of Hayden being gay are circulating all over May Pen and Manchester since the cops helped him in May Pen. He says however that they sent him on a few days leave because the allegations are causing him a lot of 'emotional distress' and they wanted to give him a chance to get his head space together.
The officer reveals that they were arranging counselling for him and they are also investigating his complaints.
Meanwhile, Constable Hayden says he has not yet decided how to handle the situation as, if he remains in the force and is transferred, he believes the gay stigma will follow him although he is not ashamed of it. "I am gay, proud, standing tall," he boasts.
He has since consulted a lawyer and the Police Federation for guidance on how to handle the situation. Corporal Raymond Wilson, chairman of The Federation confirms that they have received a complaint about the matter from the officer and they are investigating.