Ian Smart was taken to the St Ann’s Hospital yesterday after his family became concerned for his mental health following a derogatory social media post aimed at Police Commissioner Gary Griffith, Guardian Media has learned.
Smart, who is bipolar, came into the national spotlight recently following an incident at a local Black Lives Matter protest at the Queen’s Park Savannah where he snatched the hat off of a police officer’s head and raised his middle fingers at him.
Smart was also taken to the St James Medical Complex because his blood sugar levels were high. He is diabetic.
On Tuesday, Smart took to his social media pages to respond to a statement made by Griffith a couple of weeks ago during a telephone interview with Guardian Media.
“His actions were very foolish, they could have caused many repercussions. His parents should have reconsidered his Christian name and instead of calling him Ian they should have called him Not Very and kept the same surname,” Griffith said then.
Smart took offence to this comment and issued a statement on social media where he told Griffith to come home by him if he wanted to change his name. Several derogatory words were included in the post. Facebook, however, automatically blocked the status from being posted because of its policies on “hate speech”. The statement was, however, successfully uploaded to Twitter. Smart also claimed to send the offensive post to both Griffith and Insp Roger Alexander via WhatsApp.
Griffith denied receiving the WhatsApp message when contacted by Guardian Media yesterday.
But Smart issued a warning to Griffith during a conversation with Guardian Media.
“Say that if he wants to change my name he can come to St James where I live and do it himself. Otherwise he is just a punk.”
Smart said he felt Griffith’s comments were also insulting to his parents.
But when his father Anthony Smart, current First Citizens chairman and a former attorney general, heard of the social media post a decision was taken for Smart to undergo a mental evaluation.
Smart is currently the subject of a criminal investigation by the T&T Police Service because of his actions during the local Black lives Matter protest on June 8. Smart apologised for the incident during an interview with Guardian Media on June 9 and said his actions were as a result of his bipolar disease. On June 10, Smart visited the Police Administration Building to meet with DCP Jayson Forde after he received a phone call from Griffith.
Both Smart and his uncle Wayne Smart, an attorney at Gittens, Smart and Company, attended the meeting. Smart’s father was unable to attend because the annual general meeting for First Citizens’ was taking place at the same time.
Also interviewed by Forde was PC Smith of the Municipal Police, whose cap was snatched by Smart. Smith was accompanied by his supervisor, Snr Supt Glen Charles. Investigations are still ongoing into the matter.