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Ag Awaits Report On Fatal Cop Shooting

Attorney General Carl Bethel.

Attorney General Carl Bethel.

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

ATTORNEY General Carl Bethel said his office is awaiting a report about an unlawful killing ruling at the Coroner’s Court last week to decide what happens next.

Five jurors found that a police officer killed Osworth Rolle, 22, on November 30, 2016 unlawfully.

Mr Bethel said yesterday: “The process involving the coroner’s finding is not yet completed. The Coroner’s Act requires that any report of a finding of the Coroner’s Court in a matter like this be sent to the Attorney General and the Attorney General will then determine whether it goes back to the coroner or otherwise and then, of course, whether to refer to it to the Director of Public Prosecutions. Pending that, the matter is not complete. We inquired into whether the report was ready last week and it was not and as of (Saturday) when I was in my office at my desk, it had not arrived at my office. As soon as the thing came out and we were alerted that a verdict had been reached, my office reached out and the report wasn’t ready as yet.”

The process involving unlawful killing rulings have confused some Bahamians who question why such findings aren’t in themselves conclusive.

Mr Bethel said: “Mistakes have been made at times so you have the scrutinising eye of the Attorney General on the matter and then a determination is made as to whether the finding can be validated. (The Coroner’s Court has) a smaller jury, it is dealing with it from a different perspective from a criminal court. The function of the Coroner’s Court is to have a factual determination about sudden deaths that occur, unexplained deaths, deaths in police custody or police shooting deaths, these sort of issues that raise the concerns of the public. It has only a preliminary fact-finding role.”

The officer responsible for the killing remains on active duty.

Last week Commissioner of Police Anthony Ferguson sidestepped calls for action to be taken against officers found to have carried out unlawful killings.

Instead, Commissioner Ferguson suggested it was not his role but rather Parliament’s to create protocols his force should follow when inquest juries find officers acted outside the law.

“The law,” Commissioner Ferguson told reporters, “mandates the commissioner to supervise the Royal Bahamas Police Force and at this stage the officer is on active duty and there is nothing that prevents him from being on active duty.”

Some lawyers believe officers in police-involved killings should be removed from street duty and should have their functions modified pending inquest findings. Such protocol exists in some other countries.

“It shouldn’t be that you kill Johnny on Monday and you back to work on Tuesday,” attorney Christina Galanos said in August after an officer received his second unlawful killing ruling in two months. “I don’t think any developed country operates like that.”

Defenders of the status quo note it could take years for an inquest to take place and even if a jury makes an unlawful killing finding, the director of public prosecutions may conclude insufficient evidence exists to pursue a criminal charge against an officer.

The Police Act gives the commissioner wide-ranging powers to create policies through force standing orders and to assign duties to officers as he sees fit, yet the police chief implied he has no power to change how such issues are handled.

“I think we have to respect the fact that we are a sovereign nation,” Commissioner Ferguson said. “We have a Parliament that makes laws. We will abide by the laws made by our Parliament.”

During last week’s inquest, the attorney for Rolle’s family, Romona Farquharson Seymour, urged jurors to consider that the police shooting was investigated by police officers, a point the coroner reiterated when she summed up the case. Bjorn Ferguson, who represented the officer who killed Rolle, has said it may be time for police shootings to be investigated by an independent party.

Comments

Chucky 1 week, 2 days ago

police are employed to primarily protect the rulers, and the elite. Policing of the public seves three main purposes, it serves to help preserve the tax paying heard, ensure the heards resources are not depleted to the point it effects the ability to pay taxes (ie prevent property crimes), and lastly to provide the illusion of a "just society".

Though the system is complex, encompassing all of the societal points of indoctrination.
Education for example serves to instil patriotism, as one that is convinced of his or her's countries great stature is more inclined to follow rules and believe the words of the elected rulers. additionally, notice the major component of early education which teaches children to be polite, honest , follow rules etc, meanwhile we witness none of these characteristics in the ruling class or societies elite.

its all an illusion to make you feel like the country is fair, just and for the people.

funny how every law has to be accompanied by a twisted word campaign to convince us to accept it.
But, trust them, its for the people.

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sheeprunner12 1 week, 2 days ago

The Police and the Lawyers generally come from different socio-economic backgrounds and mindsets ............ and we see the human and political effect everyday in our Government institutions vs the citizens.

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DonAnthony 1 week, 2 days ago

What a sham and waste of hot air. We all know there is no accountability for rogue cops in this country, they are protected and can abuse and even kill with impunity. We need an independent investigative commission made up of lay professionals and even that will probably not work, this country is too corrupt to expect justice.

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TalRussell 1 week, 2 days ago

Yes, yes it is frankly so that Carl Wilshire just another example comrade appointed/unelected Imperial red shirt to Upper Red Chamber, proving that over each 705 days since being charged responsibilities governing Colony of Out Islands, that Bullshit beats out leveling with PeoplePublic transparency every time, yes, no?

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sheeprunner12 1 week, 2 days ago

Soooo, are you and Don charging Dames & Bethel with collusion??????

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mandela 1 week, 2 days ago

A officer received two unlawful killings in

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mandela 1 week, 2 days ago

A officer received two unlawful killings in a month and is still on active duty to kill again WOW only in a banana run country like the Bahamas

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bogart 1 week, 1 day ago

Many ALLEGED....incidents like the officer slapping a person....officers jumping on top of person....officer hitting someone...officer shooting....SIMPLE...SEND THESE OFFICERS TO COMMAND OUTPOST IN THE FURTHEST AREA LIKE INAGUA IN CHARGE OF DA NATIONAL BORDER.......!!!!!!!!!.....seems gurranteed to be successfull ....no complaints....see history other nations...with issues citizens persons....of alleged bad situation.....

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TalRussell 1 week, 2 days ago

Yes, yes comrade Mandela, hopefully there is three-strikes law if involved three, or more, unlawfully of anything under Imperial red shirts to finally send a government worker home, yes, no... all any PLP has do is think go unlawfully and they get parade down Bank Lane in shackles, yes, no - lets hope Imperial red shirts, does have courtesy return after every PLP use - the shackles borrowed from the Pompey Slave House, yes, no... And, red shirts ain't yet reach two-year governing mark, and look ways they're governing Colony of Out Islands, yes, no.... black shackles blacks. yes, no - not one conchy Joe, yet have been shackles, yes, no?

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John 1 week, 1 day ago

There must be a system of checks and balances otherwise the system will become corrupted. Officers must be accountable for their actions otherwise there would be no need for them to follow the rules or operate within the law. The difference between accidentally and wrongfully killing someone.

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Chucky 1 week, 1 day ago

"checks and balances or otherwise the system will become corrupted"

Long past that stage.

But notice the checks and balances are always run by the same team, or they have no teeth.

No matter the country.

The rulers will never be ruled, it's just simple fact!

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John 1 week, 1 day ago

Well this country always likes to follow in the footsteps of the United States. A few years ago that country was having a high incidence of police involved shootings,especially against Blacks and other minorities. Then several police officers were not only charged , but convicted of unlawful killing. And the number of killings declined to the lowest level in decades. And while the killings in the US may have been racially driven, here the killings are due to lack of professionalism and/or overly aggressive officers who decided to take the law into their own hands. And usually after one of these incidents is a spike in violent crime. So while one must be careful not to strip police of their powers to effectively carry out their duties, the country cannot allow officers to become executioners. The murder count was down significantly last year, and figures thus far indicate it may be even lower this year. This confirms that murders can not only be reduced significantly, but the lower numbers sustained.

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