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Filming Cops Can Be A Problem

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

RECORDING on-duty police officers can have violent consequences some residents say, raising questions about whether the Royal Bahamas Police Force will embrace policies that will require widespread use of body cameras.

The Tribune obtained a video over the weekend from Damian Roberts, a man who recorded police arresting a suspect on Parliament Street earlier this year.

Before the clip ends, an officer can be seen charging toward him as he recorded the video.

“He slapped me,” Mr Roberts, a civil servant who requested his real name not be used, said yesterday. “When he saw I was recording, that’s when he ran toward me and asked me for my phone. I told him he can’t have it. He was shorter than me so I held the phone up high. Out of frustration, that’s when he hit me. I was very surprised. I’m a grown man and I didn’t expect someone to run up on me like that.

“I felt embarrassed and defenceless because I know if I did swing back it had to be like eight of them there so that wasn’t going to do in my favour. I felt violated.”

The incident in question occurred around 2am on July 20.

Mr Roberts chose to record because he felt police officers were inappropriately handling a suspect.

“They were like two steps from slapping one fella and they were wailing another guy,” he claimed.

He filed a complaint with the Complaints and Corruption Branch in the days after the incident. Nearly five months later, nothing has come out of the matter.

“I’m continuously calling Complaints and Corruption and all they say is it’s under active investigation,” he said.

Earlier this month, a woman similarly complained about a regrettable encounter with police after recording them.

“Officers literally break my phone because I was recording them ‘do their job’ – in a barbaric and unprofessional way – with guns drawn around my infant child,” the woman claimed in a Facebook post, adding: “Is there a law against recording a police officer in the open public? I think the entire RBPF, including the new recruits need a whole new training, they lack professionalism, respect and they have no order!”

She also claimed: “(The officer) forced me to open my phone to make sure I didn’t post it and went through my WhatsApp to see if I sent it out.”

In a recent interview with The Tribune, National Security Minister Marvin Dames acknowledged that the culture of the RBPF has been a “closed one” and said officers will have to move with the times.

“We are living in an era where the public demands greater accountability and responsibility of the officers,” he said. “When the police are out there and conducting the business of the people, there’s no secrecy there. That’s why training is important. I’ve seen some very good pictures where people have taken photos of police officers helping an old lady or helping a little school child. But then there are negative photos that really kind of aid us in our training. If a police officer for no apparent reason slaps a member of the public, because he or she is angry or gets flustered, these are unfortunate situations but what we can do is use a picture like that, videos like that as training tools of what not to do and how not to conduct yourself as a police officer.

“The vast majority of police officers are appalled when they see their colleagues behaving in such ways because it is a reflection on them. It evokes anger internally. No one wants to be painted as rogue or unprofessional.”

The government has completed a request for proposals to acquire body cameras, Mr Dames said. He expects the request to be presented to Cabinet in January 2019 before it is released to prospective bidders.

He hopes the cameras will help settle disputes about police actions.

“We’re living in an era where there is distrust to some extent between the police and the public because of the nature of their duties,” he said. “With a greater degree of transparency, what it does really is it gives all sides a true reflection of what happened, how it happened and who was responsible.”

Mr Dames said once body cameras are acquired and distributed, policies will be created to regulate their use.

In other jurisdictions, officials have been stumped trying to find the right policies.

According to the New York Times, some, but not all, American states have passed laws regarding public access to footage filmed by body cameras. It took months for officials in New York to draft a policy for the use of cameras, dealing with questions like when and where should police officers be required to turn their cameras on and which, if any, videos should be available under public records laws, the New York Times said.

Comments

Chucky 10 months, 3 weeks ago

"When the police are out there conducting the business of the people"

Good quote Dames; except the reality is that public policing is only the secondary function of the police force. Any thinking person knows that the police is a tool of the ruling class. They exist to protect the ruling class from the masses, and to protect their revenue streams. Public policing, commonly called law enforcement is a byproduct of this force, and only done with a couple of goals in mind. One is they need you to be able to bumble along reasonably safely so you carry on producing , so they can skim the fruits of your labour. And secondly, they can't allow to many to be killed or harmed. Lest they will have a shrinking pool of people to skim from.. It's really no different than anything else, they need you educated enough to produce, and healthy enough to produce, but that's it. Thus the crumby health care and substandard education. It's just that simple folks.

Police are the enforcers, the only source of "legal & authorized violence", it's right in front of you.

The only services a government will offer is one that they can skim in immeasurable ways. You will never be able to ascertain the breakdown of any of them. E.g. the funds directed towards healthcare versus what's really spent. Same for educatiion.. Same for policing. The reasons for the fines being imposed for criminal activity is they must profit from policing too. If it were otherwise, they would pass on the priceeds from fines to the real victimss. But as we know, they consider all crimes, crimes against the state , as they effect the revenue skimmed from the people. Thus the government keeps the proceeds coming from the criminal, and who cares about the victim. An individual cop can be either good or bad, but the police force is entirely evil. And has a different set of goals that are never discussed ..
You are all surfs, unless , you're part of the ruling class.
The police are the agents of your masters.
The chains now are debt, taxes and rules, and of course yes you are free, free to follow the rules. Free to pay your taxes, free to allow the rulers to enjoy the fruits of your labor.. Choose differently, and they will use the police thugs and their violence to take you out of the system.

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Godson 10 months, 3 weeks ago

You have considered the matter thoroughly and well.

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licks2 10 months, 3 weeks ago

That bunch of nonsense does not even come close to balanced, well reasoned, accurate or rational. . .anecdotal as best. . .extremely biased anecdotes!! Now carry on with telling me how stupid I am or some dumb thing like that!!!

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DDK 10 months, 3 weeks ago

It actually comes VERY close to current reality in the new world order..........

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Godson 10 months, 3 weeks ago

You are not stupid. You just want an intellectual debate that will draw on your own mental faculties; however, commentator seeks to highlight a sordid state of affairs. What remains for you to answer is can things be better. And if they can, how can we, the civilians, form or act to make it better. Remember, it is illegal for us civilians to have firearms to defend or match those who are exploiting their office of power.: the police.

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pileit 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Exactly what is.... too bad our boy "Licks" eyes closed... he is either a skimmer or a dedicated, loving serf lovingly licking the morsels from his overlord's palm.

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TheMadHatter 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Absolutely. I wish i lived in the same world Licks does. His is a wonderful happy world. Or maybe he/she just stays at home 24/7 watching the Disney Channel and therefore just avoids the horrible nasty world outside his door. Hey Mickey!! Wanna play a game? No, let's sing a song - a happy song. Oh gee Mickey, that would be swell.

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Godson 10 months, 3 weeks ago

There is a need for national, and, institutional reforms; but, our present leaders cannot lead where they themselves have never been or gone before. They cannot provide what they don't have: insight and intelligence and morals to accompany.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 10 months, 3 weeks ago

For the past 40 years most Bahamians have been enslaved and abused by a law enforcement system that only looks after the interests of the ruling political elite and their favoured cronies and financial backers. Yep, Bahamians are indeed once again shackled with no where or no one to turn to. LMAO

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licks2 10 months, 3 weeks ago

I agree with you first assertion. . .that is a truth in this nation. . .BUT THERE ARE PLACES TO GO TO GET YOUR RIGHTS PROTECTED. . .HOW COME THE HAITIANS AND OTHER OVERSEAS PEOPLE IN THIS NATION GO TO COURTS AND GET THEIR RIGHTS PROTECTED? Yinna Bahamians are too damn ignorant and think so stupidly and talk crap when time to talk sense to get any thing of substance done. . .yinna political yard chickens don't help the situation either with all of this nonsensical foolishness like yinna talk around here!! There are plenty places to get ya rights protected. . .

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Godson 10 months, 3 weeks ago

I might wish to disagree and yet enlighten you on one point of your comment "...no where or no one to turn to.". There are others who can and who would make a significant difference in respect to the social decline we are experiencing. It is only that the populace have been programmed to elect persons of "the ruling class" who continually let them down such as members of the PLP or FNM. This represents an oscillation in stupidity and corruption. Bahamians are programmed to believe that unless the "the ruling class' gives sanction to a person, they ought not to otherwise vote for them. I have been to prison. Would you or your friends and family vote for me? The ruling class don't want the voting populace to be aware of my potential. Do you hold the view that one who have been to prison can yet make a significant contribution in our parliament or government for that fact? Or, do you hold hold the view that since I have been to prison I have forfeited my right to serve in high office?

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ohdrap4 10 months, 3 weeks ago

had it been me, i would not be recording anything. i might be exposed to lawsuits , court trouble, might become 'known to police' and, who knows 'known to the criminals'. and , in cyber space there will be a permanent trace of me. and no, i do not fear crime.

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licks2 10 months, 3 weeks ago

The recording device law only protects "private" citizens. . .police are public servants. . .your employees. Now as for becoming "know to the police" is a reality all over the planet when you "expose" one of theirs!

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TalRussell 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Yes, or no - unlike establishment media which has its slanted capitalists political basis, the comrade PublicPowerPictureCapturingDevices, is truest form of PeoplePowerMedia, and the politicians - including the policeman's - get scared shi# being exposed when they run up against CitizenComrades with PublicPowerPictureCapturingDevices at their ready. Yes, no?

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DDK 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Is it legal for THE POLICE to slap THE PEOPLE?

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joeblow 10 months, 3 weeks ago

In a civilized, well ordered society, no! In a third world country where the laws are applied selectively depending on who you know, probably!

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DEDDIE 10 months, 3 weeks ago

The biggest law breakers in the country are police officers. They actually believe beating a poor soul is part and sundry law enforcement.

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Godson 10 months, 3 weeks ago

...hence, their (the police officers) deferment from knowledge and the understanding which underpins the duties that entails the office; the role of which ought to be deployed to make us in society safe. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

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Bonefishpete 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Best the good cruise ship Captain should tell dem tourists best not video his Majesty Police. Maybe do it in a passenger advisory.

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Godson 10 months, 3 weeks ago

I think the white tourist could video the police but I don't recommend that a colored tourist should do the same. Remember, The young man that the police officer slapped - near the entrance to the cruise terminal - was actually a tourist from the Caribbean who, unfortunately, fit the profile of a young black Bahamian male for whom the police seem inclined to slap.

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Chucky 10 months, 3 weeks ago

this subject came up in the bar today, whole crowd says if deh ever see a cop do that they gonna string em up and beat em senseless.

my guess that gonna happen one , maybe two times and them police gonna be running scared.

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Godson 10 months, 3 weeks ago

The police (proper), in this and in all other respect, ought not be seen as the enemy of people. It is the ignorance by which they ply themselves in the profession - that (ignorance) is the enemy of the people. Ignorance combine with power seems to imbibe within the rank and file of the RBPF; and the Minister, he lacks insight and foresight. The young men and women of the police force are not being trained and guided wholesomely. There's no role model among the higher ranks. A bunch of beggars and hustlers. I don't think we should prime our minds or the minds of other citizens towards any aggressive behavior towards OUR police officers. But as a whole society, we got to promote some general realignment with the Golden Rule. And further, the officers, as well as, unruly civilians, needs to be enlighten as to the direct or indirect affect that their behavior have on themselves and the greater community.

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John 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Donald Trump plans to ban all ZTE and Hauwai equipment from the USA. It has been discovered that many of these devices, including cell phones, flat screen TVs and commercial equipment have ‘backward sims’ that allow the equipment to spy on the user and send information back to China. While Trump does not plan to stop individuals from using their cell phones or TVs, the equipment that is used in government applications will be ripped out and replaced.

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bogart 10 months, 3 weeks ago

DIFFERENT ISSUES.....CITIZENS FILMING ALLEGED ILLEGAL STUFF IN ALLEGED PRISON....Police raids an finds no problem....POLICE WID BODY CAMERAS FILMING DERE PUBLIC ACTIONS ....no problem supporting state stop criminals wasting public money an faking innocence wasting valuable time an reducuing wastage...PUBLIC FILMING POLICE IN ACTION.........well camera angle can reveal innocent act but making police look guilty....prior acrnot filmed...to make police guilty....filming police now brings piblic member family.... into situation dealing wid accomplices of criminal looking on.... Public filming may also include others innocent bystamders nearby...who can be endangered from criminals or accomplices looking on....LONG AN SHORT OF IT......remember almost erryone in FOXHILL PRISON...did pleads INNOCENT some time ago...but found guilty......likely could not affords no lawyer.....lawyer too probably did not wants to represents them.....SPECIALLY GOING UP AGAINST DA POLICE....BANKING INSTITUTIONS WID BEST LAWYERS...those charged.they likely PORE..almost always....comes from impoverished neighbourhoods...likely unemployed........

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MaryMack53 10 months, 3 weeks ago

The Police in this country are totally disrespectful!

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sealice 10 months, 3 weeks ago

trust the police the same crooked racist arsholes that spend all christmas looking for kids to mock / fake arrest like bloody racketeer's so they can strong arm their parents for christmas bribes?

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TigerB 10 months, 3 weeks ago

I watch that video it is a simple arrest, bin there done that.., the police has to use more force than the suspect to bring him in, up to killing if necessary, that is law....So it they the suspect wants to fight then the police have the right to cut his behind, then charge him for resisting arrest too. Seem a lot of resisting taking place i the video and others wanted to obstruct the officers from doing their job, lock them up too. This is why crime out of control...we need to see it for what it is. The police have no right to stop anyone from video taping, that officer needs to be reported to the complaint unit.

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