Caymanian pro boxer Charles “The Killa” Whittaker” remains in police custody on suspicion of causing fear or provocation of violence, damage to property and for resisting arrest following an altercation with CIBA’s Operation Manager Tracey Seymour Tuesday afternoon.
According to a RCIPS press release; shortly after 4:15PM yesterday, 27 April, officers responded to a report of a disturbance at the D. Dalmain Ebanks Boxing Gym on Olympic Way, where it was reported that a man had been involved in a dispute and had caused damage to the building. Officers arrived at the location, observed several persons gathered outside of the gym and spoke to them. The officers also observed that the glass doors at the front of the gym had been severely damaged.
Officers approached the man who was reported to have caused the damage and informed him that he was under arrest, however he initially refused to comply with the officers’ instructions and resisted their attempts to take him into custody. Eventually the officers were able to arrest the man, age 47 of West Bay, on suspicion of causing fear or provocation of violence, damage to property and for resisting arrest.
The boxing association released a statement stating; CIBA endeavours at all times [is] to provide a safe and positive environment for all young people. CIBA has a disciplinary policy in place and any person who violates [the] policy will be treated accordingly.
In his capacity as an esteemed sports person for the Island, Charles Whittaker, in addition to any former boxer who has competed at a high level, is permitted free access to the premises as a mark of respect for their achievements. However, such persons are expected to abide by the same rules of respect and behaviour as anybody else. Being a person of status does not exempt any person from the expected standards of behaviour. In fact, it demands a higher level of accountability because one should act as a role model for future generations of Caymanians and impressionable young people utilising the facilities. Mr Whittaker has been warned about his behaviour in the boxing gym on several occasions in the past few years.
In July 2019, Mr Whittaker initiated an aggressive verbal altercation with a visiting official who was conducting a training course for Caymanian officials. In June 2020, when government premises were closed for lock-down, Mr Whittaker threatened to break the door down as he demanded access to the facility. In March 2021, there was another incident involving Mr. Whittaker using foul language, racial slurs and inappropriate behaviour in the gymnasium during after-school hours.
CIBA’s membership and waiver form notes that: CIBA prides itself on its inclusivity and non-intimidating atmosphere, therefore any member using language or behaviour offensive to other members or staff could be asked to leave the premises and ultimately have their membership terminated. CIBA’s objection is to persons using CIBA’s facilities in a manner not within the established code of conduct making other gym users feel disrespected, intimidated, victimised or unsafe and/or generating a negative atmosphere.
CIBA was aware that Mr. Whittaker had recently made inaccurate negative comments and racial slurs on social media concerning CIBA. CIBA respects Mr. Whittaker’s right to express his opinions and has a procedure in place whereby any concerns can be addressed via legitimate channels.
On Monday 26 April 2021, Mr. Whittaker engaged in similar derogatory behaviour within earshot of young boxers. Therefore staff members approached Mr. Whittaker and requested that he behave in a respectful manner when using the facilities and if he had a complaint then he could utilise the appropriate channels. Mr. Whittaker responded in an extremely aggressive and threatening manner against a female member of staff using highly inappropriate language and behaviour in front of young boxers.
Following this incident, CIBA acted within the established protocols and reported this incident immediately to the Department and Ministry of Sports. It was agreed between CIBA and the Department of Sports that Mr. Whittaker would be excluded from use of the premises and held accountable for his actions. The Department of Sports advised CIBA to report the matter to the RCIPS and a report was filed at lunchtime on Tuesday 27 April 2021.
At 3:50pm, 27 April 2021 during our afterschool training time, when children were using the premises, Mr Whittaker returned to the gym. In an abundance of caution the children in our care were moved to train outside. Mr Whittaker began behaving inappropriately. As was documented he verbally abused staff members , damaged government property and acted in a menacing fashion, The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service arrived at the scene within 25 minutes. In the interval Mr Whittaker managed to gain access to the premises and he pushed a 19-year-old female member of staff.
At that point in the series of events which had been ongoing for a significant period of time, the videos on social media demonstrate a member of CIBA staff also responding to the altercation in a verbally aggressive and derogatory manner. The CIBA staff member has apologised for losing her temper and responding in an aggressive manner and CIBA has taken the appropriate steps with regard her conduct.
CIBA cannot and will not, tolerate behaviour like this from any national athlete, former national athlete, staff member of gym member. It can and it has used its disciplinary policy to hold persons accountable for their actions and set an example for the young people of this country to follow.
CIBA provides a safe and nurturing environment for the benefit of all users of the gym and will continue to do so under the arrangement with the Department of Sports. To this end we have arranged for counselling for any children who witnessed this unfortunate incident.