By SANCHESKA BROWN
Tribune Staff Reporter
COMMISSIONER of Police Ellison Greenslade yesterday expressed his disappointment in the community of Lower Bogue after they did not come to the aid of an officer who was allegedly being assaulted by a civilian.
The incident occurred on August 5, however a police report on the matter was not released to the press until Sunday.
A video of the altercation was posted on a social network site and showed the police officer struggling with the suspect for several minutes before discharging his service weapon and shooting the suspect in the leg.
At one point, the suspect had the officer in a head-lock.
When the officer managed to free himself, he continued to struggle with the suspect for several minuted before shooting him twice in the leg.
The man was taken to a clinic then airlifted to the capital, where he remains listed in stable condition.
Police say the officer was also injured in the incident and was taken to the hospital for treatment and then discharged.
Commissioner Greenslade said the incident was unfortunate and confirmed that the officer in question was placed on administrative leave until a full investigation is carried out – standard procedure for a police involved shooting.
However, he said he was disturbed that members of the public did not nothing to assist the officer.
“It is unfortunate. We do have a young man in hospital nursing injuries as a result of the shooting but some things went very very wrong in the matter and you cannot have any member of your public fighting with the police.
“If a police office places you under arrest, you should follow the instructions, you should comply. And we have a saying – comply now complain later, because someone will hear your complaint.
“That said, I am not proffering a position either way except to tell you that the matter is being properly investigated,” he said.
“What I find to be disturbing is that members of the public stood idly buy and did nothing to assist the officer who was struggling and that was not the way we behave in Family Islands.
“As a matter of fact, that is not the way citizens behave in New Providence because if an officer is in fear or has a challenge we expect members of the public to assist, to go to that officer’s aid and to prevent things from getting out of control.
“The matter went wrong at the point that there was a physical confrontation between the officer and the person he placed under arrest.
Members of the public who were standing by should have intervened and should have assisted the officer so the matter does not go as far as it went. They should have restrained the young man in question.”
Mr Greenslade said the officer also suffered several injuries including “very serious bite marks, injuries to the face and the right eye as well as injury to his left arm”.
The commissioner said he has not spoken to the family of the victim, however he will be proactive and call them to answer whatever questions they may have.
When asked what the standard procedure is for officers attempting to restrain a suspect, the commissioner said it varies with each situation.
He said: “Across the globe when you speak to law enforcement people, we say things that sound really good but in the real world it does not work like that.
“Lots of things come into play: is the victim bigger than the officer in question? Is he or she in a position where they overpowered the officer? Is the officer bigger than the victim? Has the officer overpowered the victim?
“So that conversation can change, the reality is this, if an officer says you are under arrest, then a member of the public should comply.
You should never be fighting with a police officer, so I don’t want to speak to the details of the video, except to say when things go wrong and when we see things go wrong, we as intelligent people in this country are able to make a judgment call.”