Barbados Police Commissioner Explains A Certain Shooting – Continues To Ignore Other Incidents

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Folks, I have to run out and pick up the wife but when I return I will finish writing this article.

I think that Commissioner of Police Dottin is addressing the shooting that we talked about in our article Bystander Accidentally Shot By Barbados Police – Left To Die By The Roadside.

Read our previous article for the background, then the Nation News. We’ll be back later to write our comments.

One thing I do have to say to Commissioner Dottin…

Transparency does not mean only talking about those selected incidents where the police believe they acted correctly.

From the Nation News (link here)

Dottin clears air on shot youths
Published on: 2/16/08.

RECENTLY, a report was carried in at least one local newspaper which suggested that members of the Royal Barbados Police Force, in responding to a report at Deacons Road, St Michael, had shot and injured two young men.

One of the implications that could be drawn from that report was that the police officers acted recklessly. An investigation was immediately ordered to determine the circumstances under which the men were injured and who was responsible for the injuries caused. In the interest of accuracy, truthfulness and accountability, the force now shares its findings with members of the public.

Sometime on January 19 members of the Force responded to a report at Deacons Road St Michael. As police officers entered that community and prepared to disembark from their vehicle they were fired upon by a young man. One police officer discharged his firearm in response to that attack. Later, it was discovered that two bystanders were shot during the altercation. Immediately thereafter, some members of the public accused the police of being responsible for shooting these two men.

Forensic evidence and the account of eyewitnesses have clearly shown that neither of the two men was shot by police officers. Furthermore, a man has been arrested and charged with several offences relating to this incident including the injuries inflicted on two persons.

This incident has generated significant public debate and in response I wish to raise the following points for consideration.

In Barbados an investigation into the actions of members of the Royal Barbados Police Force can be triggered by a complaint to the Police Complaints Authority. To the best of our knowledge, no formal complaint has been made
as yet in relation to the matter under reference. In the public interest we urge any person who in any way feels aggrieved by any action of the police in this matter to immediately register their complaints with the Authority.

Independent probe

We would welcome an independent investigation into this matter as the reputation of the Force has been impugned by unfounded allegations. It must be noted that Section 11 of the Police Complaints Authority Act, CAP 167A of the Laws of Barbados, provides for the making of complaints by any member of the public who is aggrieved or by his agent. Where the aggrieved person had died or is otherwise unable, the complaint may be made by any other member of the public.

The powers of the authority, which are quite far-reaching, empowers that body, among other things, to monitor
the conduct of any investigation by the Force into any complaint, with a view to ensuring that the investigation is conducted impartially. It may also supervise or in specified circumstances undertake the direct investigation of complaints.

I now draw attention to some other issues. One of these is our search for an understanding of what motivates some members of a community to react in this manner to law enforcement, including a resort to monstrous untruths and hostility. It begs the question as to whether or not this is a display of a general disregard for law and order, authority figures and institutions. We in the force recognise we must engage in much soul-searching. Moreover, from
a national perspective, it also requires quite serious consideration as to how we are going to resolve these issues.

The point must also be made that the Force appreciates its obligation to be accountable to the public it serves. Indeed, the concept of accountability is embedded in the core values of the Force. Furthermore, the powers given to the police in the discharge of their duties are statutory, and as such police officers are legally held accountable for their actions. These are ideals in which we believe and, quite frankly, would not have it any other way. They form part of the bedrock of our democracy.

We also subscribe to the concept of policing by consent as this is not only critical to a stable environment, but also facilitates collaboration and the healthy exchange of ideas between the police and members of the public. This is an arrangement that greatly enhances our capacity to develop effective crime prevention and operational initiatives.

Police public relations is another matter that comes under scrutiny as we reflect on this incident. Indeed, significant damage, some irreparable, can be done to this relationship when persons are quick to take sides without access to all of the facts. This further underscores the need for the force to continue its practice of sharing timely and relevant information with members of the public. All of this would be done with the understanding that at times certain considerations would impose constraints as to what extent we can share certain information.

We continue to urge the support of the public for our efforts, and we do so without any expectation of blind support. However, Barbadians must fully appreciate the need to support their police officers as these are extremely challenging times for all of us. Undoubtedly, most Barbadians are aware of the extent of deviance and violence that affects our society.

Therefore, as we continue to manage the issues of crime and disorder that affect this country, we again call for support of our efforts to maintain stability and order.

– COMMISSIONER OF POLICE Darwin Dottin

17 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law

17 responses to “Barbados Police Commissioner Explains A Certain Shooting – Continues To Ignore Other Incidents

  1. It is good to see Commissioner Dottin open and forthright on this matter.

    But BFP is right. It does shine the spotlight on why there is no such forthrightness in many other instances.

    Let us hope this is setting a new standard of transparency that will be seen in every future case where the role of the police is under question.

  2. reality check

    Provided we are getting the full truth, this a good example of accountability and open dialogue that should be part of our every day society.

    Congratulations to Dottin!

    He speaks the truth when he says

    “Undoubtedly, most Barbadians are aware of the extent of deviance and violence that affects our society.”

    Now that he is not being as controlled as much by the former gang of abusers, perhaps he could let us know what actions he is taking to fully investigate, what appears to be one of the most flagrant abuses of police and judicial authority in recent history;” The Ronja Juman” harrassment and arrest and cavity search at 2 AM in the morning by the DPP.

    I am sure he has received an official report request by her lawyer. If not perhaps, he could let us know so anyone of us can file an official complaint on her behalf.

    This matter needs to be fully addressed and not swept under the carpet. Heads need to roll as an example to all that the Rule of Law cannot be abused by those at the top.

  3. Tony Hall

    It is good that the COP shed some light on this matter. I said earlier that we should wait before jumping to conclusions. The mainstream media likes to obtain sensational stories before matters have been properly investigated. The bottom line for the print media is sales rather than substance.

  4. will the COP also comment on the killing of a police constable while parked out at Durants with the wife of a police superintendent…will the COP comment on the beating of the Brathwaite boy from Orange Hill by police at Holetown station who later discovered that they had picked up the wrong man?…will the COP comment on the frequent breaking down of doors and ransacking of homes by the police without showing search warrants?…will the COP comment on the senior police officers who own ZR vans that break the law with impugnity?…will the COP comment on…oh shite!…i could run out of space….

  5. Rumplestilskin

    This is good that the Commissioner has cleared the air on these issues and has taken this opportunity to ebcourage dialogue netween the Police and the public at large.

    I reiterate however, that the Police cannot ‘clean’ our society single-handedly.

    We must all rally against those who seek to make our society violent and troublesome.

  6. CRABBIE

    When will the COP start to enforce law and order when it comes to his officers, in the cases of domestic abuse. I am aware of six cases of domestic abuse that went to Senior Superintendents in the police force and these matters never saw the light of day. Police wifes and girl friends being abuse by said officers and nothing being none the COP need to address that…………………

  7. Rumplestilskin

    Another area to be assessed is seeking the help of international police organisations such as the FBI in eliminating corruption from the force, by investigating and eliminating those who are suspect.

    This should be done in conjunction with investigations of persons suspected of being senior drug barons and / or money launderers, including businessmen where applicable.

    Why has not one person ever been charged and convicted of being a top drug baron and/ or launderer? In the thirty or so years that drugs have been prevalent?

    A friend has told me that they know for sure that persons operating in Barbados have been questioned by the FBI already.

    The Government should know exactly who these people are.

    Where there are drugs, there have to be people to launder the money, it is not possible otherwise.

    Look for the money and you will find the drug people somewhere there. Weed (oh, pun not intended) out the ‘real’ business from the drugs.

  8. De Original

    I am so happy to see Mr. Dottin publish this necessary piece of information so the public can be made aware that their compliants dont fall on deaf ears. I congratulate him on this piece of work.
    I am sure this has lots to do with him being made more accountable by his new boss. I would at this point implore the Attorney General suggest to Mr Dottin as he seems not to know what is the difference between a leader and a manager. This is a step in the right direction. Accountability. Mr Dottin we await the Integrity and Transparency in all actions by you and other managers both in the private and public sector.

  9. The Devils Advocate

    The COP himself cannot go everywhere with his officers but most of the negatives about the officers under his command are true. I have witnessed a police officer who beat his girlfriend unmercifully and repeatedly and all that was done was his ‘colleagues’ came and collected him. He is now a detective.
    I was raised middle class but I have lived in the ‘ghetto’ and I noticed that in the ‘ghetto’ the police have a completely different attitude. In Barbados we assume that all ghetto people are criminals so no one thought it wrong to block off the whole Pine area as was done in the past.
    I have seen police kick down doors without warrants. I have seen warrants written with the wrong name and address but yet the officers still kick down the door.
    I have heard police curse and abuse members of public and if the person repeats what they say they rough them up and threaten to arrest them.
    The COP needs to understand that it is the behavior of some of his officers that has caused the public attitude, especially in the ‘ghetto’. Some of his officers have no respect for themselves or for those who are not well connected and take advantage of the public’s perceptions towards certain areas of our country to commit serious acts of abuse. The Police know that if it is the Pine, The Ivy or Haynesville the public will always take their side.

  10. eureka

    My advice to the Commissioner in handling these matters is to include at least one independent individual, such as a member of the clergy, for example (if he hasn’t done so already) on his team of investigators.

    In other words, I don’t believe that police should totally investigate their own colleagues in these matters because it has the potential to leave a few mental cobwebs on the brain. Whatever happened to ‘transparency’? We need not be reminded of the hackneyed phrase:

    justice must not only be done but must be seen to be done.

  11. Bajan Touchstone

    Does the Police Complaints Authority even function?

    The COP is making repeated references to a body that arguably does not serve the purpose for which it was created.

    Can anyone indicate if it is in operation?

  12. Veracity

    While one would like to believe that the COP says is a true state of affairs there are very good reasons why people do not complain to the complaints authority.
    The fact that is it run not by an independent body but by the police themselves is a deterrent in itself.
    Intimidation is why many people are truly afraid to make a complaint for fear of reprisal from the police themselves.As the BFP points out it’s a matter of ‘if you dare’.
    How many incidents of police brutality or misconduct go unreported because the witnesses to these incidents are too concerned for their own safely or that of their family? This is why there are’ unfounded allegations’
    Then there is the complicity found among some officers. With no witnesses how can someone follow through with their complaint?
    The police will and do cover for each other the word of another officer against a complainant with no witnesses is strong stuff. It is very easy for officers to make false statement to cover themselves.
    How can the public protect themselves from this?
    Police brutality is real people are afraid and the police know it. The police pack a punch and not just from their position there was a case last year of a women whose jaw was broken after an altercation with a traffic PC on the way to pick up her children from school,. She did complain with medical report and is still waiting for a response.
    What possible excuse is there for breaking a womans jaw?
    There have been several incidents reported of women being stopped in their cars and intimidated and in some cases physically assaulted by officers ,of girls dragged along by their hair and generally manhandled but how many make complaints?
    There must be an inadequacy within any man that feels he must resort to physical solutions to whatever problem he might encounter ,men such as this should not be wearing the uniform of BPF.Yet as pointed out already Police Officers are often guilty of domestic abuse themselves and it goes unpunished yet these very same officers are let loose on the public.
    Both men and women are targeted for violence and the truth is that the police hold all the cards, on a small island police reprisal is very real possibility
    Lawyers are expensive and the police can string out a case as long as it takes for the complaint to run out of nerve or funds.
    Does the complaints authority actually function? Who knows.

  13. HINTY HINT

    http://jamaicaobserver.com/news/html/20080220T220000-0500_132758_OBS_

    STOP_ORDER_ON_KERN_SPENCER_.asp
    Stop-order on Kern Spencer
    Light bulb probe deepens

    Thursday, February 21, 2008

    SPENCER. says there are ‘several gaps’ in report
    THE Immigration Department yesterday slapped a stop-order on Kern Spencer, effectively preventing the former junior energy minister from leaving the island, as investigations into the Cuban light bulb scandal deepened.

    Impeccable Observer sources last night said the stop-order followed instructions from the Police High Command. The newspaper’s attempts to get comment from Spencer proved futile.

    A stop-order is usually in preparation for police action, including taking the subject into custody but the Observer sources could not confirm that the embattled ex-state minister would be detained.

    Contractor-General Greg Christie has asked the Director of Public Prosecutions to initiate criminal proceedings into the light bulb saga that went wrong because of alleged breaches of the government’s procurement guidelines.

    Energy Minister Clive Mullings last month reported to the parliament that the light bulb project, meant as a gift from Cuba, had ended up costing about $267 million to distribute $4 million worth of light bulbs under Spencer’s watch.

    Christie also alleged there were breaches of the Contractor-General Act, the Financial Administration and Audit Act and the Public Bodies Management and Accountability Act in the procurement of the contracts for the project and in the execution of the contract itself.

    The report said Spencer had used his company, Butterfly Traders Limited to make money from the project.
    Sherine Shakes, the mother of Spencer’s child, as well as Shakes’ mother, Verdie Mair, have also come under scrutiny.
    Shakes received several payments from the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ) in relation to the project, while Mair, who was listed as the contractor, reportedly received $700,000 from the PCJ for catering services.

    Spencer has maintained his innocence and said he would clear his name as there were ‘several gaps’ in the report.

    The People’s National Party (PNP) politician has also been named in another potential scandal involving land with last week’s revelation that he bought two acres of lands at Gilnock, St Catherine, for $2.8 million, without the approval of the Land Divestment Committee. The land was never advertised for sale.

    Spencer has since taken leave from his duties as member of parliament for North East St Elizabeth and given up his leadership roles in the PNP out of concern for the damaged image of the Opposition party.

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