Barbados Reporters Again Assaulted By Police Thugs – But Is The Nation News Reaping What Is Sowed?

“The government and police long ago lost any respect for, or fear of, the Barbados media.”

Barbados Police Officers Use Violence If Reporters Don’t Show Instant Obedience – A Legacy Of The Press Always Saying “Yes, Massa”

For at least a decade the Nation News and other Barbados media have bowed down to the government – ignoring well-proven stories of political corruption, censoring letters to the editor to remove facts and soften the impact, selectively covering stories to show the government in a better light, providing questions in advance and agreeing to restrict areas of enquiry during the few live “on air” interviews of government or police officials. When police or government demanded that a story be ignored or facts withheld, the editors were only too willing to say “Yes Massa”.

Whether this was done because of cowardness, laziness, a desire not to jeopardise revenues from government advertising – or a combination of factors, the net effect has been a weakening of freedom of the press and democracy in Barbados – and part of the blame lies with the Barbados media itself.

The government and police long ago lost any respect for, or fear of, the Barbados media. Likewise, even the ordinary citizens long ago lost faith in the Nation News as a defender of citizens’ rights and democracy or as a source for unbiased truth in reporting.

On Friday, May 25, 2007, three respected Barbados journalists were roughed up by police thugs as they were covering a story at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. As BFP said at the time…

“The police physical attack on the three journalists perfectly reflected the government’s policy and attitude towards a free Barbados news media. The government has long provided the example and leadership in this area. The police were merely following the government’s example.”

… from BFP’s Barbados Government In Damage Control Mode Over Police Roughing Up Journalists At Hospital

Barbados Bus Accident – Police Assault Journalists, Take Camera, Phone, Delete Photos

In the latest incident of assault, thugs from the Royal Barbados Police Force assaulted two Nation News journalists at the scene of the bus accident. According to a story in the Nation News, Senior Superintendent Leonard Broomes told reporter Rawle Culbard that he “could not take pictures of the scene” even though he was not within any cordoned off area.

Senior Police THUG Broomes and his henchmen then forcibly yanked the camera from Mr. Culbard’s neck and deleted the photos. Senior Police THUG Broomes then used force to take the cell phone from another Nation News staffer to erase any photos taken by the phone.

That, my friends, is assault by any definition.

What Law Did These Police Thugs Think They Were Enforcing When They Assaulted Journalists and Deleted Photos?

Once again, our police officers show that they and their political masters have no respect for the rule of law or citizens’ rights.

What is not prohibited by law is permitted by law, but taking a page from the government – the police hold themselves to be the law. Whatever an officer declares at the time is the law on Barbados – citizens’ rights and freedom of the press be damned.

Just listen to the contempt that the Senior Superintendent has for citizens, journalists and the rule of law. How confident the police thug is of the outcome of any complaint! How secure he is in the certainty that the police can do as they please in Barbados without having to worry about little things like “the law”…

“When I asked his name, (Police Superintendent) Broomes said to me that ‘you all always asking for names as if something will come out of it’.

… Nation News journalist Rawle Culbard describing what Police Senior Superintendent Broomes said after assaulting him.

cowardly-nation-news-barbados.jpg

Cowardly Yellow-Backed Nation News Refuses To File Criminal Assault Charges Against Police

What is the reaction of The Nation News to this latest assault by police?

Oh… They filed a COMPLAINT with the police!

Well, that should take care of everything.

Is Vivian-Anne Gittens, the Publisher and Chief Executive Officer of The Nation News, cowardly, stupid or a little of both?

This is yet another clear case of assault against journalists by police thugs. It is time that criminal charges were laid against at least Senior Superintendent Broomes who was clearly operating outside the law and with total contempt for citizens’ rights and freedom of the press. Without sanctions against these police thugs, we can only expect things to get much worse.

If the publisher of The Nation News hasn’t the courage or integrity to stand up for her journalists then the concept of freedom of the press in Barbados is well and truly dead in the old media.

Required Reading:

The Nation News: Photographer’s Pictures Deleted

Notes From The Margin: Joe’s River Tragedy – Nation Files A Complaint With Police

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31 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Barbados News & Media, Crime & Law, Freedom Of The Press, News Media, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption

31 responses to “Barbados Reporters Again Assaulted By Police Thugs – But Is The Nation News Reaping What Is Sowed?

  1. Farmer

    Surely the reporter himself can press charges against the Police Force for assault!!!! Or is this not been sanctioned as well????

  2. Anonymous

    – and live where??

  3. Rumplestilskin

    Although I understand the reservations stated, one thought is that the Police were trying to ensure some level of compassion for the victims families.

    We have previously seen terrible scenes emblazoned across the front pages of national papers.

    Thus, maybe the officers were wary to let someone leave the scene to publish upsetting photos?

    Maybe the officer could have explained himself if that were the case however, in which case it is a matter of public relations.

  4. Aviator

    The police generally do a good job but the incidents highlighted by BFP are worrying. In fact BFP can add the elites who live in Millenium Heights and terraces and gardens as bullies alongside government in our society. I am disappointed the police treat poor ordinary reporters like they did recently while the well off security officials were not arrested for blocking police from entering Millenium Heights. One country two sets of laws.

  5. John

    The Police are asking for witnesses to the crash or witnesses who were there immediately after to come forward.

    Those photos might be of help now as the Police try to reconstruct events leading up to the crash!!

    For example, did the gouges in the road happen before or after the crash? I believe I saw one contributor to BFP make the point that they occurred after. But that info came not because he/she saw them being made but rather from someone who says so. Maybe they were told as well.

    Who was the source?

    Pictures of the accident scene no matter how awful must be of considerable worth to the authorities now, particularly if there is a time attached.

    I think it was good of the Nation to avoid putting pictures in the paper which showed the horrible nature of this tragedy explicitly.

    Maybe it was thanks to the intervention of the RBPF, …. maybe not!! One thing is sure, nobody, including the RBPF, gets to see them!!

  6. Pogo

    This is exciting. Efficient police work is what happened here.

    By erasing the reporters’ pictures the police have destroyed the only record of certain aspects of the accident.

    Brilliant move. That avoids having to waste police time looking at photos to figure out what happened.

    Next they intend to crush and dispose of the bus real quick.

    That will avoid wasting time seeing if it was mechanical failure resulting from shoddy inspections that the police were supposed to do.

    Last thing all they have to do is shoot all the witnesses.

    Then it is “case closed. Nothing to report here folks. ”

    You have to admire the efficient police work.

  7. Jeppa

    LOL,

    Well put Pogo! The Royal Barbados Police Farce at it’s best nuh?

    Has anybody thought of putting the camera memory card into a card reader and using Norton’s Undelete to see if the files might still be there? I mean I don’t really think that cop who attacks a reporter and rips his camera from around his neck could have more functional brain cells than an single cell amoeba. I hope that the reporter has a nice fat report from his Dr. re: the soft tissue damage to his neck. I think a nice little law suit against the officer is more useful than a complaint that will go no where.

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  9. reality check

    “ignoring well-proven stories of political corruption, censoring letters to the editor to remove facts and soften the impact, selectively covering stories to show the government in a better light”

    you forgot intimidating opponents by opening their mail, firing people who don’t tow the line, sending out auditors to harass, and of course lots of threats.

    While some may think we are nowhere near the state of brutality and corruption that exists in Zimbawe, in fact this is how Mugabe started.

    1) control the freedom of expresiion ( media )–done
    2) control the judiciary—done
    3) implement a policy of vitimization for those who oppose—done

    its all there for those who are not blind

  10. Justasking

    Jeppa, your suggestion “Has anybody thought of putting the camera memory card into a card reader and using Norton’s Undelete to see if the files might still be there?” is a good idea. A simple delete of photos will not actually delete the photos. Norton may do it and there is software that will retreive the deleted photos. Anyone with a little computer skill can download free software that will do the trick. Some leading local one hour photo labs may also offer the service.

  11. Red Lake Lassie

    BFP your main point about the Barbados media being responsible for their own weakness caused me to reconsider the situation. I believe that you are 100% bang on. The issue should be How do they regain their respect?

  12. Jeppa

    “Police seeking public’s help
    Published on: 8/2/07.

    THE Royal Barbados Police Force is conducting a major investigation into the circumstances surrounding the mass casualty accident which occurred on Sunday, at Joe’s River, St Joseph.

    The force is appealing to the public who:

    * Observed BT 4 prior to ,the accident.

    * witnessed the accident;

    * were present immediately after the accident; to contact the police at 430-7275 or 430-7284. (PR)’

    That was in today’s Nation! Doesn’t this strike you as funny?
    Am we had pictures that could have been used as evidence but for some reason unknown to 100% of the rational thinking public a neaderthal in a police uniform destroyed them! Now they want help??
    This is so sad it’s funny. I feel sorry for you Commissioner Dottin, you really are the captain of a very leaky boat.

    Jeppa

  13. Peltdown Man

    The point, surely, is that it is not the policeman’s job to censor anything. I, too, find it distasteful and distressing for victims’ families when their photographs are published. But it is the photographer’s job to take the pictures, and his editor’s job to decide whether or not they should be published, after which we can complain to the newspaper, if necessary. This incident sets a dangerous precedent, and I will not be surprised to see similar incidents in the future, unless the Commissioner takes stern action against the policeman(men) involved, and gives strict instructions about freedom of the press in a democracy to the rest of his force.

  14. John

    Jeppa

    Don’t be too hard on the Police.

    There are photographers who are only interested in getting photos for money and these would have been out of place on Sunday. Perhaps the Officer recognised the possibility from the behaviour of the photographer and his behaviour was correct.

    The Police and the papers need to be talking and understanding one another so that recording of an emergency scene happens as quickly as possible after the event, whether the Police photographer is there or not.

    There will be many witnesses who did not have a camera to record what they saw and will rely only on memory and the call for these to come forward is perfectly natural.

    Again I say, do not be hard on the Police. I raised my concerns, which I think are valid, but I did not and do not mean to belittle the Police, just to make an observation I feel can help in the future.

    Very often it is footage shot by a member of the public which can provide answers at a later date where no evidence exists.

    The public needs to be recognised as a useful resource, but it also needs to recognise its responsibility.

    An idiot with a camera looking to capitalise on other persons’ suffering needs to be put in his/her place by any officer in charge of the scene.

    I guess in many cases it will be a judgment call and the Police are the ones to make the judgment.

    *********************

    BFP Comments

    Sorry to disagree John, but it is NOT the duty of the police to make a judgment call as to what photographs may be taken of what and when on this island.

    Unless you just want to haul down the trident and put up a communist or nazi flag in it’s place…. or maybe a Union Jack circa 1800?

  15. John

    It is a bit like the Amateur Radio Association during Hurricane season. Their members are licensed and provide a valuable service to assist the uniformed services during an emergency.

    The difference is that amateur/professional photographers have no licence, no training and act on their own wishes. I do not know if there is any Association.

    Some amateur/professional photographers will realise that they are potentially useful in certain circumstances and will identify themselves to the officer in charge and ask for direction. The officer may or may not accept the offer of help.

    Then there are others who feel the scene is tailor made for them to get some good shots.

    Maybe there should be an organisation of amateur/professional photographers.

  16. BK

    If we had a press with credibitlty maybe the authorities might consider letting them do their work armed in the knowledge that they would exercise good judgement. On the other side of the coin there are some who would suggest that the photographer should have been helping to comfort family members and friends at that time. A difficult situation.

  17. Anonymous

    At the scene in Mullins ,the police behaved in the same rough manner,shouting,threatening etc.

    Then in the end wanted people to help identify who were passengers on the minibus….this after treating people like dogs.A little courtesy and thoughfulness would have greatly helped the situation.I ,for one, have no problem in what they say…it is how and the manner in which they say it.Shout at me like a dog and I will bark or even bite.

  18. DFX

    John,
    Let me understand what you are saying……
    So if this guy had lLOOKKED like a thief instead of a photographer who MIGHT have published gory pictures it would have been okay for the boss hog excuse of an officer to shoot the guy? Is this Barbados we live in? Was Martial Law declared for a bus crash? That man was assaulted and had personal property destroyed. Mr. Moore should be prosecuted to the highest extent allowed by the law because as an officer swore to uphold that law he is sadly lacking. I would hope to see a public apology from the Farce and to see Private Moore at Central directing traffic.

    You go Jeppa!

    DFX

  19. John

    DFX

    Whether you like it or not the Police in such a situation are incharge of the scene.

    It is their judgment to which anyone must defer. A yellow tape can’t be used as an excuse.

    Do you know if the photographer just decided to take the photos, or if the photographer deferred to the officer and offered assistance or requested permission?

    Under pressure, people do funny things, … inspite of their training and common sense. An officer is always under pressure for the simple reason that he/she is trained to take control and act in situations such as arose on Sunday. They know they are accountable for whatever goes on at such a scene once they take control.

    I do not think any individual inspite of their training, could have acted completely calmly and with utter sang froid on Sunday. Even Police are human!!

    The situation was one most people would never expect to face.

    That’s why I say, give the Police a break and get the facts. Maybe they have been ordered to keep photographers at bay. If that is the case, then I agree that order should be reviewed.

    Except in rare cases, officers do not shoot theives!! Give me some examples if I am wrong. I have no problem being corrected.

    I do agree there have been instances of persons being shot which demand attention and remain cloudy and I have expressed my concern from last year on BFP.

    Doolah was one such case. He was shot by Police early one morning.

    … but at a scene of an emergency, the Police are large and incharge. Anyone who forgets this, if indeed the photographer did, will feel the long arm of the law.

    It just takes dialog between the Nation, Advocate and Police to avoid what was described here. Once all parties know what is expected of them, they will in most situations behave accordingly.

    Communication works wonders!!

    *******************

    BFP Comments…

    John, so sorry old chap, but we will have to continue to disagree.

    No Photographer in our country while standing on public property needs to ask or receive permission from the police to take a photo. You seem to have a basic misunderstanding of what is law and what is not.

  20. DFX

    John,

    I’m sorry, but if someone were to rip my camera off of my neck and delete my photos the break there is going to me is my foot in their a…..

    The police here deserve the name PIG. I was in a car one day when a friend of mine turned left onto Baxters Road from next to Thinking Computers not knowing that at that time it was one way in the other direction, the cop watched her come up in the left lane, with a left indicator on and then after she turned stopped her to give her a ticket. What an ahole! I told him that maybe what should happen is that if he ever crossed the road in front of my car I would run him over and then tell not to cross in front of a moving car. He got up on his high horse and I offered to go straight to the Commissioner’s office with him to tell the Commissioner what kinda of a fool he was, he suddenly backed down when he realized his stupid puffy motor cycle cop pants and dark glasses did not impress me in anyway and I was more than willing to go the whole nine yards to see him directing traffic at Central’s gate.

    I have had very senior ex-officers here at my house and they are in dismay at the sorry excuses for human beings the Royal Barbados Police Farce has in it now. That officer had no way of knowing what the photographer was going to do with the photos and neither do you or I. He assaulted the photographer and destroyed his personal property, are the laws different for police from the ordinary citizen? Not the last time I checked. Should he not have had a warrant to search the camera? Or do the laws of this country not matter?

    Mr. Moore acted un-professionally! Plain and simple. He MUST be punished for it. The police got on like little snotty nose children when they got treated like how they treat the average joe at World Cup and now they flexing muscle again. HA! What a bunch of morons.

    Later people as R Hood suggested the other day I going and cool down, stupid police really get me upset. LOL

    DFX

  21. John

    It is always good to stay cool and have your facts and if you got that advice you should follow it. You can’t go wrong.

    A senior officer should never refer to a junior as sub standard for anyone not related to the force to hear.

    That is plain wrong.

    That is why there is a training budget which is administered probably by the same senior officer to assist him in correcting the shortcomings of a junior.

    I believe on Sunday there was the case of the nurses on their way home from church who stopped and helped at the scene.

    They apparently did not receive the treatment of which you complain so it is fair to assume that the Police were not pigs to them. So maybe it might be possible thay are not pigs at all.

    Maybe piggish behaviour is reserved for those who provoke it.

    No doubt the nurses went to the Officer in charge, offered their assistance and were given free rein.

    It is conceivable that the Officer in charge may at some time have taken instructions from them and done their bidding.

    What does a Policeman know about treating someone who is minus a hand or a foot. Many people faint at the sight of blood. Others have been trained or know what to do.

    Again, like the Amateur Radio Association, the nurses have training and are licensed. The photographers are not in the same league. All that is needed is some communication and training.

    With regards your run ins with the law, I can suggest that you file a complaint through proper channels ….. and then follow it up.

    Don’t do it with acrimony, and don’t do it because you expect nothing to result. I was told a long time ago “Blessed is he who expects nothing …… he will not be disappointed.” Go with high expectations and behave as though you will get the appropriate response.

    Enough complaints against the few bad eggs and justice will take its course. Until such time as those complaints flow through official channels, you have to take what you get when a Policeman exercises his judgment.

    Policemen are subject to the law as well, perhaps they have an even higher accountability/duty of care than us poor folks from whom not much is expected.

  22. DFX

    John,

    “Maybe piggish behaviour is reserved for those who provoke it.”

    ROGL.

    I remember coming down James St. one afternoon shortly after getting my Drivers License; as I approached the junction as Senior Officer looked down towards what was then Barbados Hardware and called me out. The Officer at the gate of Central then proceeded to jump out into the road and shout at me about just coming out of James St. without stopping, I only replied “Good Afternoon!” he continued to scream at me for the next 5 minutes and I would only reply “Good Afternoon” by this time the Senior Officer that had let me out came up the car and said “Good Afternoon” to me and asked me what the problem was. I told him and he proceeded to cry down the officer at the gate for having bad manners. Most officers that I have come across in my 40 something years have very bad attitudes and just because they have on a uniform does not make them different to me. Respect is earned! If an officer behaves like an unmannerly pig he is only going to get the same from me. And I am not afraid to go into a Court of Law and tell a magistrate that he was unmannerly.

    “A senior officer should never refer to a junior as sub standard for anyone not related to the force to hear.”
    You will please note I said “EX-OFFICER” and I’m sorry if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it has to be duck.

    All Police are sworn to protect our rights as citizens NOT ABUSE THEM. When you look at what happened the officer had no knowledge of what the photographer was going to do with the photos, and he had no warrant to search the camera. HE MUST BE PUNISHED! I hope the photographer will entertain the idea of a Civil Suit for assault at least. If this officer is like many of the others I’ve had the “pleasure” of dealing with he will most likely not turn up to court and end up wasting everybody’s time; I had 2 officers do that to me in a case and after going to court no less than 7 times I asked the magistrate if this was the kind of respect he expected from the officers and told him that I was tired of wasting MY time coming to court only to be told sorry not today, that and the fact that the officers had a different car number written down for me, the wrong colour and make of vehicle had me in serious doubt as to whether or not they could be relied on to actually read a Radar in a moving car. The magistrate looked and me and actually cracked a smile, told me to slow down and have a nice day. Case dismissed.
    On the other side of the coin there are some truly pleasant officers out there, last year I forgot to put my seatbelt on after having to turn back into my back seat and adjust my son’s baby seat. The officer was in court the morning I was fined $200 and he actually apologized to me telling me he did not think I would have been hit so hard for a 1st offence. My response: “$200 for possibly saving my life is small change.” Let me tell you he was shocked. I had to be making appearances in Oistin’s Magistrates Court many times last year as a witness for the Police and those guys are some of the nicest people I have ever met.

    “Enough complaints against the few bad eggs and justice will take its course. Until such time as those complaints flow through official channels, you have to take what you get when a Policeman exercises his judgment.”
    NO! It was published in the local media and if nothing is done it will show just how one-sided the system really is. Remember a case was brought a while back against a ZR driver based on a photograph? Let’s now sit back and see if we are all equal or if some are more equal than others. And you can brush up on your Animal Farm and tell me who was “more Equal” lol

    Later

    DFX

  23. John

    DFX

    There are bad eggs everywhere. There is a procedure for dealing with them.

    Last year Adrian in the USA told us he was arrested for asking an officer his age when he was a boy living in Barbados.

    Just follow the procedure!!

    The system will correct itself and expose the bad eggs.

    The secret is never give up!!

    If you do, the system will continue on its merry way and your experience will have counted for nothing.

  24. John

    Years ago, Colin Hudson introduced me to this cartoon!! Never forgot it, … or him.

  25. DFX

    John,

    Used to attend the same church as Colin. I can still remember the dry knot in my throat the day I heard he had gone to greener pastures. He was a great one!

    And I’ve had the cartoon on my door for the last 10 years at least lol

    Keep safe my friend,

    DFX

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