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Updated With Video: 'Police Shot Out My Tyres'

LEFT: Carolyn Lulse-Darling, the wife of Mervin Darling, points out the damage to the car tyre, which it is claimed was caused by police bullets. 
RIGHT: Mervin Darling, who said his car’s tyres were shot at by police.

LEFT: Carolyn Lulse-Darling, the wife of Mervin Darling, points out the damage to the car tyre, which it is claimed was caused by police bullets.  RIGHT: Mervin Darling, who said his car’s tyres were shot at by police.

By AVA TURNQUEST

Tribune Staff Reporter

aturnquest@tribunemedia.net

A HIGH-speed chase with undercover police officers has led a traumatised Englerston community leader to call for licensed handguns.

Mervin Darling, former deputy chairman of the Workers Party, alleged that plain-clothed officers in an unmarked vehicle shot repeatedly at his car as he drove home early on Friday morning.

Mr Darling told his story to The Tribune hours later, after first attempting to file a complaint at police headquarters.

The 40-year-old activist, one of the organisers of Freedom March, said he is now convinced of the need for Bahamians to be armed and trained to protect against rights violations, which he described as casualties of a criminal war zone.

He said: “To see it all in the day time, (Friday) morning, my Oakley’s are missing, I made a $100 withdrawal from the bank, that’s missing, and all my radio wires are completely pulled out. I have two shot-out tyres and a fear of the police.”

“This situation that occurred is why the police and the Prime Minister, who has now declared a war on crime, have realised after all the casualties of war, 40 years later, there is a war and crime is the enemy. When the person responsible for the resolution becomes the aggressor, now is the time for the Bahamian people to be armed.”

Mr Darling is employed as a Food and Beverage consultant for Bahamas Hospitality with responsibility for food and bar service management of various restaurants.

He is also the leader of a fledgling B class Junkanoo Group, the Englerston Pioneers, who plan to make their debut at this year’s Boxing Day parade.

On the eve of the incident, he had just finished work at Traveller’s Rest.

Mr Darling said: “Every night after I get off, before I go home to my wife I go and check on my mom who is 73, and my grandmother who is 96. She is the oldest living woman in Englerston, her name is Mildred Pinder. After I checked on them, I went by the Village Pub and gave a little shout to my boys, I grew up in this area this is my community.

Mr Darling said he then gave a friend a ride around the corner from the bar and began making his way home sometime around 12:30am.

As he pulled out onto Robinson Road, heading west to East Street, Mr Darling said he noticed a car was very close behind him.

“When I saw the lights come so close behind me I said to myself ‘what is this person doing?’ So I pressed the gas and then I heard the shot, so I pressed more gas, then I heard ‘pap pap pap’ and thought what is this, these guys are trying to kill me.

“I didn’t panic, but I was trying to get away. I’m driving a Dodge Ram V8.”

“The whole time I’m thinking I don’t know what’s going on, I don’t deal with crime. My brakes are good so I did a hard turn on East Street and just floored it. As I reached the corner by Jenco Battery, after Melissa Sears, a police car was pulling out so I just slammed on brakes in front of the police car.

“When I stopped in front of them, they drew their guns on me. But then the guys were still shooting behind me; these guys were coming down the street shooting like, it was like they were Ukranian soldiers or something, so the uniform police turned to draw on them. But the plainclothes guys showed their badge.

“Then they came, stood over me, forced me to the ground; one guy put his foot on my head so my face was in the dirt. All this time they’re shouting at me how I’m so stupid, how I should have stopped after I heard the first shot.”

Mr Darling said the strategic legalisation of handguns was the only defence against violations because it would force police to identify themselves before encroaching on civil liberties.

The ordeal has severely affected Mr Darling, according to his wife Carolyn Lulse-Darling, who told The Tribune yesterday that the incident has also made her suspicious of crime events in the country.

She said it was distressing to learn that her husband was unfairly criminalised despite his active role in the community.

Mrs Lulse-Darling said: “I feel terrible because these guys are out there and you don’t know who they are; this should be taken seriously and those guys should be reprimanded for what they did because this is not right. (Mr Darling) feels very bad about it, the way they treated him like he was a criminal, it sort of affected him psychologically because sometimes he just stops and stares and say ‘what if I didn’t make it home that morning?’

“(Police) are going overboard and it makes you feel suspicious because a lot of things are happening. How can we be sure that’s who they say is doing it if they are taking that kind of measures? How could we be sure and say it’s the bad guys doing these things because you don’t just open fire on someone like that, even if they were a suspect, you identify yourself or call back up.

“We are upright citizens who go out to make a decent living. For us to be treated like this – it’s not right.”

While there has been no official response from police The Tribune can confirm that officers are investigating the matter.

On Friday afternoon, several area residents said they saw two female police officers taking photos of Mr Darling’s truck at his residence.

Mrs Darling also confirmed that the officers came to assess the vehicle after her husband made a complaint.

Mr Darling said: “This is the scientific, systematic operation of the police. If they had shot and killed me it would have been another drive-by shooting blamed on criminals. I need help, I need to be able to defend myself. It’s about citizen security, we need training so that we can be armed. You should have the right to bear a weapon, you should have a right to defend the only thing you have – your life.”

Comments

Brenard 3 years, 7 months ago

If the facts presented are true, these officers should be DISHONORABLY DISCHARGED after proper investigations. This right here, is how criminals are made and another reason why police are denied assistance. The force is plagued with a stable of trigger happy and action craving imbeciles.

YA BETTA FEAR 'COP WITH A GUN' because as they say, "I AM THE LAW". I really don't know what to say, these space cadets are really out of hand.

There are some good officers out there, but facts remain truth. The bad heavily outweighs the good. From my experiences alone with officers and their incompetence, corruption and nasty arrogant attitudes, i can say that with confidence.

"2, 4 WE GAT ACTION"

"10, 4 I AM A JACKASS"

"8, 9 ROGER THAT"

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Honestman 3 years, 7 months ago

If the facts are indeed true then heads need to roll. This is not how to police a community.

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Bahamianpride 3 years, 7 months ago

RBPF overall is infested with jacked up people we all know it, criminals in uniform, there are many good officers but the majority are mindless goans who could care less about following the law they swear to uphold.. I remember being smacked by one of these fools as a kid for being out @ night. No criminal intent on my part just a kid hanging out in a poor comunity. There was no take u home to your parent, just slaps & instruction to run. Could not have been any older than 12-13. Left huge rigid mark. There is no reason for someone to make up a story like this, I believe him.

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blackcat 3 years, 7 months ago

Extremely disappointing and horrific incident. If what is stated is true, consequences should follow for these policemen but let's be real, I doubt anything will happen. What do we expect when there are no rules for any of us ??! Laws don't apply to our people and that's why we're in the mess we are in today.You have something like this happen and then two days later Greenslade in the press pleading for the public's help in identifying the REAL criminals. The public don't want help you if this the treatment they are getting! The police need to be properly educated just like the rest of us- just how they talk to people any kind of way , this incident does not surprise me. Very sad, I hope justice is served.

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B_I_D___ 3 years, 7 months ago

Always more than one side to the story, some say two, others say three. Going on the assumption that this side of the story is the true side to the story, it is a disgrace. If I was driving around in the middle of the night and some unmarked car with people in plain clothes was chasing me down, I sure as heck am not going to stop...if they start shooting at me, that's even more cause for me to put my foot down and GO!! Until I see those police lights, or hear the sirens, sorry, I ain't stopping for no one.

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ThisIsOurs 3 years, 7 months ago

I really like the part where he says the officer told him he was stupid because he drove off after the first gunshot ..."you see people shooting at you and you eehn stop to ask them why?"

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The_Oracle 3 years, 7 months ago

The Police are out of control, and largely inept. But, we the people have been watching this progress for 40 years. The innocent will always suffer for the guilty, but it seems the Guilty suffer not. Rogue Cops and rogue criminals, a recipe for disaster.

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DillyTree 3 years, 7 months ago

There's either something missing in this story, or this is a sorry excuse for a police force we have in the Bahamas. Heads need to roll on this one and charges brought against the thug officers responsible.

As another poster says, if someone's shooting at me, I am sure as hell not stopping to see if they are undercover police.

And we are supposed to teach our children to go and find the nice policeman if they ever need help????!!!!!

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proudloudandfnm 3 years, 7 months ago

Dude get a lawyer and sue every one of them cops...

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BahamianAway 3 years, 7 months ago

On one had I see where this man is coming from about needing to protect yourself, at the same time though if this man had a gun this could have gone differently. No doubt it could have gone differently even now, it is such a catch-22 really.

I don't know Mr. Darling however based on his time-line of events maybe the person he picked up was involved in a criminal act, maybe when he stopped to the bar something was reported shortly after and he was the last known to leave. I am in no way saying the police were right to handle him that way, because even if that was the case they shouldn't have shot at him and they clearly didn't approach him in keeping with the law.

This just highlights that these policemen are on a rampage, but again catch-22 because if I were a policeperson after a someone I suspect may be armed and dangerous (and again there is no proof they didn't think he was) I would be shooting first and asking question later myself. But same time, that shoot first ask questions last could have gotten a presumably innocent man killed.

Such a toss up these days with crime being as it is...the police didn't identify themselves and at that time of night I don't blame Mr. Darling for not stopping. Same time his fleeing that way might have only made him appear suspicious...

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B_I_D___ 3 years, 7 months ago

I am not afraid to use my vehicle as a weapon in self defense. Some strange unidentified person approaches me in a threatening manner while I am in a vehicle and sorry buddy, you are my next speed bump. Now...identify yourself as a police officer, PROPERLY, and I'll tell you anything and help you in every possible manner.

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Bahamianpride 3 years, 7 months ago

Multiple flaws in this situation. 1). No legal reason has been presented to engage Mr. Darling, if there was one he would have been arrested for or charged with something. 2). Firing weapon at a moving target in a highly populated City, which leaves the question are all of those rounds accounted for? 3). What legal grounds was there to fire upon this vehicle, what threat did this person pose to the public or the Officers, what exigent circumstances existed, none as I see it. 4) The use of deadly force is only authorized to protect life or to stop a serious threat, can someone articulate what was the threat here. 5). Did any of the officers attempt to notify a marked police unit to initiate a traffic stop if the vehicle was suspicious? The fact that this man had to come to the media is a representation of the level of cover up that goes on with the RBPF, and the fear for retaliation. Bahamian citizens are trapped between a goane squad Police force mentality and the criminals themselves. Those officers who did not report this incident to the proper authority are just as guilty as the plain cloths officers firing the shots. I am still waiting for some legitimate reason that they can give for the use of deadly force on a moving target, in a populated area without any threat.. Some of these guys cannot shot 80% on a stationary target without pressure so shooting at moving things in a populated area thank God nobody was killed because of these morons posing a Cops.

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KM 3 years, 7 months ago

Very Very Bad. What if they had shot and killed that innocent man. This is ridiculous. This is not how you curb crime. Dont start by making the citizens fearful of the police. Some already dislike them, dont bring fear into it. This need to be investigated fully and if the story is true, these police officers should be punished fully! what a disgrace !

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Bahamianpride 3 years, 7 months ago

The police must be held to a higher standard. We cannot fight crime without them, I desperately want to see this department cleaned up and a change away from the barbarian primitive police tactics of the past if we are going to win the war on crime. Its bad enough that the courts are screwed up but police abuse of power or neglect of duties go on to much with RBPF. They must distinguish the difference between criminals are ordinary citizens going on about there life. This shoot first ask questions later or beat the pissed out of someone mentality has to stop. What would it have taken for them to run the vehicles tag to identify the owner and use proper investigative techniques. To fight crime law abiding citizens and the police must be on the same page and level of trust must exist between those enforcing the law and people they are suppose to protect. In certain areas if u can them they late or never come, if they come depending on your economic status they threat u like S--t. After this u are left to deal with the criminals still in your community, so now u don't trust the cops and u know u domed with the criminal. We are in the year 2014 and we still don't have recorded police interviews, recorded traffic stops or recorded holding areas for our prisoners with public access upon request for any of those recordings. U cannot stop crime using criminal goanes, it just does not work..

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slim242 3 years, 7 months ago

Wow, this sounds like the wild wild west.

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TalRussell 3 years, 7 months ago

Is it time to sell we police cars to buy horses for our policemans to start rustling real cattle, not people? Comrades over the years there have been aspects of police behavior which troubled the hell out of many citizens and residents of Bahamaland. But this Tribune story, even if 75% over-exaggerate, it still leaves reasons to conclude, our "It's Better In We Tiny Nassau Town," has now turned into "It's Not Better In Da Tiny Wild West." While the prisoner wedding at the policemans station had some humour to it. Law enforcement with loaded guns who are prepared to use them as armed lawless rustlers to track down humans, are by no means anything to laugh at.

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John 3 years, 7 months ago

You had the Rodney Moncur story where his house was burned down, then he was later charged with some bogus charges of posting grossly indecent pictures on the internet. He won the case. Then there was the young man who was killed in police custody and no action has yet been taken on the police responsible. There was the matter of Darron Cash where his home was invaded and personal items snatched from him on what now appears to be a bogus warrant. No one in authority seems to be aware that the action against Cash was taken place. Then now with this most recent incident of a police shooting at an unarmed citizen, for no apparent reason, except that they wanted him dead, one must consider the notion that many people believe the police are behind a number of the execution styled killings that are happening in this country, especially when the victim is just recently released from jail or from police custody. Is that why so few persons are brought before the courts who are charged with murder? Are the police killing citizens under the cover of darkness? When you compare the number of killings to the number of persons getting charged and being found guilty the numbers just do not add up..less than 10 percent. From all the indications it seems if the uniform police did not intercede this man would have been sot dead by under cover police....cry for our sons (and daughters) Bahamas!

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CANDACESCOTT 3 years, 7 months ago

i am convinced this is what is happen...absolutely.

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John 3 years, 7 months ago

"Then they came, stood over me, forced me to the ground; one guy put his foot on my head so my face was in the dirt. All this time they’re shouting at me how I’m so stupid, how I should have stopped after I heard the first shot.”

Help call da police!! What they really meant is that they expected you to be dead after the first shot...

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ThisIsOurs 3 years, 7 months ago

Ukranian soldiers indeed. With the politicians stealing millions from ministries/corporations under their portfolio, telling us not to ask them any questions and now this....Ukraine under siege indeed..

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misunderstoodyoungbahamian 3 years, 7 months ago

If his account of the story is true ... it is so unfortunate that he found himself in such a situation. however this is a common scenario for most who live or frequent high crime areas/communities. I remember my brother and i found ourselves in a similar situation a few years ago, walking in oaks field minding our own business heading home. Then suddenly we noticed three men heading in our direction, two on foot and one on a bicycle (yes a bicycle). One of them then asked "where yal goin soulja", now for anyone who has ever been robbed or assaulted before, that isn't something that you want to hear from a stranger. So we looked at each other and my brother said get ready to run... but before we could even get set the gentleman on the bike raised his shirt and pulled a hand gun and said don't run. Now call me whatever you want but our flight response kicked in and we took off, but then a fourth of july celebration began behind us and before we knew it we were face down in the dirt with a knee in our backs and the three men identifying themselves as police.Then they asked the most amazing question i have ever heard in my life "why the f*** yal try run".... REALLY?? ..... so am i to think that you pulling a gun because you want a stick of gum??....maybe just maybe if you had shown a badge and identified yourself we wouldn't have.

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ThisIsOurs 3 years, 7 months ago

I agree, the police need to stop the gangsterism. To deal with gangsters they have become gangsters or are integrating gangsters in their midst. Some say this is the only approach that some young men understand, that may be the case but it can't be that it includes shooting at someone at the slightest provocation. There are many good officers out there and if I were in trouble I would want one of them to come to the rescue, I believe the Commissioner is one of the good officers, he has a really heavy task to clean up this force. Some of these men are symptomatic of our society, anything goes and they simply have no right/wrong compass.

Personal beef: I really wish they would stop referring to young men as soldiers and "little man ". A 10yr/15yr old is not a soldier and he is not a little "man". He is a boy who is unsure of his actions most times and frequently makes nonsensical decisions, he is in need of guidance. Soldiers and men are expected to either have neither of these traits or to have them to a much lesser degree.

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Bahamianpride 3 years, 7 months ago

Misunderstoodyoungbahamian, you, myself and many other innocent Bahamians have had there rights violated by the goon squad we call RBPF. A lot of the young cadets they recruit are extra aggressive at harassing the wrong people. You especially don't want to be poor and call on them for assistance.. Bahamians are better off creating there own neigborhood malitias to fight crime rather than depending on the Police. They put the U in unprofessional. Best to avoid dealing with them and if u do hopefully u get one of the good ones to respond. To start the process of cleaning up this mess i would send all new recruits to the Florida State Police Training Academy for trainining.

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Purcell 3 years, 7 months ago

You really expect any truths to emerge from the police? This will be swept under the rug.

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ThisIsOurs 3 years, 7 months ago

I doubt the outcome will be broadcasted, but I hope it has consequences internally.

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spoitier 3 years, 7 months ago

The old saying said when you dumb you're dangerous. That goes without saying in the Bahamas; I had my own incident with the cops while visiting a couple of years ago. I was pulled over in a rental car by 3 cops, there weren't rude even though one had her gun in hand, I ask them what was wrong and they said that the vehicle is a suspected vehicle, I said I just rented it and I don't even live in the Bahamas anymore, they let me go only to turn back around and pulled me over again, so I gave them my driver’s license this time and ask what is so suspect about the vehicle, they didn't gave me an answer. After returning back home, I learned that three years prior that rental vehicle was in a drug bust. Now, if I was a drug dealer why would I go and get the same vehicle that was in a drug bust to transport drugs? They seems to don't use reasonable judgment to suspect a crime in action and I would go out on a limb to say because they don't get held accountable for things like this is the major reason that they don't use reasonable judgment.

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Purcell 3 years, 7 months ago

When you wash out at a job interview at the city dump you can always enroll at the BPF.

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