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Us State Department Report: Inspectorate That Looks Into Complaints About Police Fails To Meet

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

A CIVILIAN organisation that is legally mandated to investigate complaints against police officers has not had a meeting since September 2017, according to the United States’ latest human rights report.

The Police Act requires five people to be appointed to the Police Complaints Inspectorate to ensure investigations into police complaints are conducted properly. However, lawyers said yesterday National Security Minister Marvin Dames does not appear to have appointed anyone to the office. The government did not respond to The Tribune’s questions concerning this before press time; Mr Dames is out of the country and also did not respond.

Attorney Elliot Lockhart, the previous head of the Inspectorate, said his tenure ended around the time the Progressive Liberal Party lost the 2017 general election.

The US human rights report said 143 complaints were made against police from January to November last year; the Royal Bahamas Police Force, in its year in review report, said the total number of complaints against police last year was 245.

US human rights reports have come to consistently highlight either the Inspectorate’s low output of work or the lack of information concerning its actions. The Inspectorate is not required by law to report on its activities. Since the Police Act 2009 came into force, little has been revealed about its work.

In 2018, the US State Department wrote that the Inspectorate had not met as of September 4, 2017. In 2017, the US wrote the Inspectorate did not provide statistics in 2016 and in 2016 it wrote that the Inspectorate did not meet as of October 2015. In 2015 and 2014, the US wrote that “no information was available on the outcome of PCIO proceedings” for 2014 and 2013. In 2013, it wrote that “the government declined to provide more recent data” concerning the PCIO for 2012, adding: “The PCIO, which composed of five citizens met eight times during 2011 to consider 60 complaints against officers, most of which involved assault and unlawful arrest cases. No information was available on the outcome of the PCIO proceedings.”

Critics have long complained about the lack of transparency surrounding investigations into accusations of police misconduct and have advocated for an office like the Inspectorate, ran by civilians who can provide oversight of the Complaints and Corruption Unit of the police force. Many who make complaints to that branch say they are never told the results of investigations. Police have not revealed the results of investigations into several high-profile, viral incidents last year.

Damian Roberts, a taxi driver, showed The Tribune in December a video of an encounter he had with an officer downtown. He said he made a complaint in July because the officer slapped him the face. Police have yet to update him on the matter as of yesterday, he said, seven months after he made his initial complaint.

According to the Police Act, members of the Police Complaints Inspectorate must “review the investigation and determination of a complaint by the Complaints and Corruption Branch…so as to ensure that the investigation is conducted impartially; report to the minister from time to time or at his request and review reports from the Complaints and Corruption Branch.”

The law empowers the body to request any information, document or “things” related to a complaint “from the commissioner, the Complaints and Corruption Branch, a person making a complaint, a member of the RBFP or any other person who may be able to assist.” The Inspectorate can also give guidance to the Complaints and Corruption Branch “as may be necessary to ensure thoroughness and impartiality.”

Appointees to the Inspectorate must not be police officers or anyone who has held political office within five years of his/her appointment, according to the law.

Comments

Well_mudda_take_sic 2 months ago

The U.S. government is no longer in a position to lead by example. Accordingly, it should be told where to get off in order to stop embarrassing itself, or, more simply put: Butt out of our internal affairs!

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Gotoutintime 2 months ago

Right!--The US Government should only get involved when we need their help---Typical attitude!

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milesair 2 months ago

Does that mean that you no longer have "Trump derangement syndrome"? Your right, the U.S. should "sweep in front of its own door"! And quit interfering in the internal affairs of other countries. Don't hold your breath!

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Well_mudda_take_sic 2 months ago

Whatever made you think I have or had TDS? I have an obvious case of MDS, but that's entirely justified. LMAO

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bogart 2 months ago

BEY....NOW STORY ...OPEN OUT.....POLICE ...COMPLAINTS INSPECTORATE.....!!!!!!!!!.SHOULD HAVE HUNDREDS PLUS PEOPLE COMPLAINTS...INVESTIGATING......!!!!!!!!!!.......DAS ONE STAB IN DA BACK...WALKING THRU PARADADING....SWINGNING LIL STICK......PORE PEOPLE COMPLAINING ...AGAINST WRONG DOINGS....DA POLICE DONE.....THROUGH MASONS.ONE STREET EVEN ....HAVE SIGMS....PLEADING FOR HELP......TO INVESTIGATE POLICE.....!!!!!!!!.....jus look a dat ......AN ON OTHER SIDE OF MOUT POLICE ASKING FOR PUBLIC HELP...!!!!!!!......DISAPPOINTED...DISAPPOINTED....JUSTICE DELAYED...JUSTICE DENIED.....SMALL ISLAND...ERRY STORY ALL OVER....PORE PEOPLE SUFFERING.....HALF LEGISLATORS TRAVELLIN IN ODDER OUDSIDE COUNTRY.....AN ODDER HALF SPENDING UP PORE TAXPAYER MONEY....BENEFITING ELITES...ECHELONS...COHORTS.......where mandated help for pore victims complaining...?????

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Well_mudda_take_sic 2 months ago

Truth be told, the U.S. government is apoplectic over Red China's heavy greasing of our corrupt Minnis-led FNM government in an effort to get the Bahamas to join the WTO as soon as possible. Uncle Sam fears that if and when the corrupt Minnis-led FNM government succumbs to Red China's greasing pressure tactics for the Bahamas to join the WTO, our country will be filled up over night by thousands of Red Chinese right on the door step of Florida. This would pose a great threat to the national security interests of the U.S., while at the same time leaving very few if any decent paying jobs remaining in our economy for Bahamians. You only have to look at what has happened to other countries whose corrupt governments were wooed by Red China into signing on to membership in the WTO. The writing is already on the wall, and it's plain as day for all Bahamians to see.

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DDK 2 months ago

Nothing but a wee pawn in the big game of thrones? Truly disconcerting!

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tell_it_like_it_is 2 months ago

Putting the problems the USA has aside (and there are many)... we definitely should have a functional complaints process.
With all the Tom Foolery and beatings police are dishin' out these days.... the RBPF should not be allowed to get away with not being held accountable.

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Chucky 2 months ago

Notice that nobody will write the all encompassing truth.

This government has a majority , if they want to do something they can.

They don't care what the police do to the small people.

And they certainly won't risk damaging the reputation of the rbpf lest the May upset them, and then the police might look into political corruption.

Our nation is 100 percent corrupt.

Don't expect any change people.

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bogart 2 months ago

GO TO DA HEAD OF DA CLASS...!!!!!...MAJORITY IN POWER...!!!! SEEMS TO DATE......STATUS QUO.....ABSOLUTELY .....MANDATED TO MAINTAIN....COHORTS..ABJECT FAILED CERTIFIED...POLITICAL APPOINTMENTS...FRIENDS...GODCHILDREN...RELATIVES...OLD REPETEATED INEPT FAILURES....still in system......no matter erry 5 years cronies...affiliates...doggedely..maintaining ...faulty system...FOX HILL FULL....BARBARIC....FINANCIAL SECTOR STRESSED.....PMH SHORTAGE FOR BEDS FOR PORE.....NO COMPLAINTS RESOLVED FOR PORE..... ...but any problem for cronies..cohorts..plenty plenty...more taxes on pore...to benefit cohorts...cronies friends..money an solutions available..GLARING....

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DDK 2 months ago

All of this is very interesting and of serious concern, but THE US STATE DEPARTMENT on HUMAN RIGHTS and POLICE BEHAVIOUR in OUR country? What gives?

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TheMadHatter 2 months ago

Why should i comment on this story. Anything i say would only be self serving and not intended to help anyone else. In the meantime, i will at least express my sympathies to the humans who claim rights.

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bogart 2 months ago

ALARMING.....245.....COMPLAINTS AGAINST THE BAHAMIAN POLICE....LAST YEAR....... And seems mandated INSPECTORATE is not in action.....THE JUSTICE IS MORE CRITICAL PARAMOUNT IMPORTANCE AFFECTING THE AGGRIEVED...HURTING...VEX...UPSET....PRESSURE...HIGH....AFFECTING BAHAMIAN MOTHERS....FATHERS...WIVES..HUSBANDS....CHILDREN....GRAND PARENTS.....AFFECTING FAMILY...FRIENDS....NEIGHBOURS....COLLEAGUES...WORKERS...on small 21 x 7 island few othr islands....affects ....ALL BAHAMIANS... ON... 245 COMPLAINTS AGAINST POLICE FORCE....even we da pore knows some but all dese is Shocking..!!!!.....AND THANK ALL PERSONS INVOLVED IN REVEALING THIS PAINFUL GUT WRENCHING AGONIES SISTERS BROTHERS. BAHAMIANS AFFECTED....

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