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Policeman In Attack Probe

By CHESTER ROBARDS

Tribune Senior Reporter

crobards@tribunemedia.net

POLICE are investigating one of their own for an alleged attack on a woman at the straw market on Tuesday, that left the woman with bruises to her face, according to reports.

Quinn McCartney, Deputy Commissioner of Police, said yesterday that the Royal Bahamas Police Force is actively investigating the matter after the woman reported the incident to the force's complaints and corruption unit, claiming that a male officer struck her several times.

"Police wish to inform the public that a complaint has been launched into this matter to the complaints and corruption branch and reassure the public that this complaint like all other complaints will be thoroughly investigated," he said.

Mr McCartney revealed that while the incident is being investigated, the accused officer remains on active duty.

He added that only when the complaints and corruption unit has completed its report, he and the Commissioner of Police will make a decision on how to reprimand the officer.

The officer is alleged to be an inspector on the police force.

According to reports, the victim is said to be a courier who makes deliveries between the straw market and a warehouse.

It was reported that the woman was dragged out of the straw market's ladies restroom and allegedly assaulted by the officer.

She told a newspaper that the officer slapped her "all over the place" in front of tourists and locals, and then led her to the police satellite station on the Woodes Rodgers Wharf.

Mr McCartney said officers only use force that is proportionate to the situation they are attempting to control.

He admitted, though, that officers often do not approach individuals in a cordial manner. He said people skills is something the RBPF continually attempts to drill into its officers.

Mr McCartney also explained that police often try to assign male officers to male offenders and female officers to female offenders when possible.

"Based on the circumstance, police have to take action and whether it is a male or female (offender), the officer will take the appropriate action," he said.

According to Mr McCartney, there were 287 complaints made against police officers in 2011 of which 51 were found to be baseless and 44 were found to have insufficient evidence to reprimand the officers.

He could not say how many officers were discharge from the police force because of complaints against them.

He said many people often make baseless complaints about their treatment by officers because they are embarrassed about their interaction with police.

"We have to ensure we stay within the confines of the law," he said. "One complaint is too many for us and many complaints are unfounded."

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