By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Tribune Chief Reporter
WHILE the investigation into the fatal police shooting of Royal Bahamas Defence Force Leading Seaman Rodney Adderley is “basically” concluded, Commodore Raymond King says there should be an established protocol regarding how police officers interact with members of the service.
In the face of lingering questions regarding the incident that took place on Monday and how it led to Adderley’s death, the Commodore said he was of the view that de-escalation methods needed to be a part of the training regime for new recruits of the Royal Bahama Police Force to ensure professional relationships are maintained.
He also said he was of the view that the fallen marine’s mental health challenges should not have been made public and that his family was assured they would be allowed to see police body camera footage of the incident during a coroner’s inquest into the situation.
However, he said the RBDF dissuaded the family from pushing to have the footage released publicly saying it may be disturbing to relatives to have it in the public domain.
In addition, Commodore King gave an assurance that the matter received the full attention of Royal Bahamas Police Force Commissioner Paul Rolle.
While a file of police compiled evidence is expected to be handed over to the coroner today, a timeline for adjudication is unclear as there remains a backlog of inquests due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The incident, according to Commodore King, had sparked raw emotions of not only grief and pain among colleagues, but also anger, frustration and bitterness. The latter, he said, had been fuelled by erroneous social media claims. He urged RBDF officers to adhere to the force’s social media policy.
Yesterday, the Commodore described Adderley as a friend, colleague and brother, adding his feelings were compounded as he dealt with personal grief attached to the death of his son - Marine Mechanic Renaldo King, who died three years ago. The anniversary of that death was a few days ago.
According to police, the incident with Adderley took place on Dunmore Avenue in the Chippingham area while officers were on routine patrol.
Police said shortly before 4am on Monday, officers were alerted to a complaint about a suspicious vehicle parked near a vacant lot on Dunmore Avenue.
Officers were subsequently dispatched to the area and upon arrival, they noticed a man in the vehicle.
After being ordered out of the vehicle, the man “charged” at one of the officers and attempted to disarm him, police said. Adderley was subsequently fatally shot.
“With respect to the investigation and its update, the investigation is basically at its conclusion stage,” Commodore King said yesterday during the Office of the Prime Minister’s weekly press briefing.
“The police would have compiled the evidence. The coroner would have visited the scene and the file is being prepped to be presented to the coroner by tomorrow (Friday).”
Asked by The Tribune if he thinks there needed to be greater emphasis on de-escalation methods, the Commodore said: “At present I can say with certainty that we enjoy and continue to enjoy very professional, cordial and mutually beneficial relationships with our law enforcement agencies generally and in particular the Royal Bahamas Police Force.
“But I am satisfied that emphasis must be placed from the training area to persons that we’re recruiting, the more junior persons. We’ll now have to establish a protocol, a written protocol through the use of liaison officers and so once a police interacts with any member of the service there is a certain protocol to follow, but we need to get it during the new entry training phase in order to change the culture and to ensure that not only at the top - where we enjoy this mutually beneficial relationship - but that the younger persons whose mindsets and where we have generational differences are inculcated with the mindset that we must always maintain at a minimum professional relationships between the agencies.”
He was also asked to confirm whether Adderley suffered from a mental issue as was intimated by National Security Minister Wayne Munroe earlier this week.
In response, Commodore King admitted that he had advised the minister of such information on the advice of the RBDF’s medical officer.
However, he said, he viewed the information as “privileged”.
“The honourable minister was advised by myself based on the advice from my force medical officer and he took the liberty of disclosing that to the public. I see it as privileged information between a physician, medical professional and a client so I would want to refrain from any comment in terms of his medical condition without consent of the family.
“That was one of the things the family was concerned about when I met with them, was the disclosure of information of that nature without the consent of the family.”
He said relatives were concerned about a timeline for an inquest.
“They were relatively satisfied (during the meeting). Understanding that process they were more concerned with the timeline of when it may occur and we explained to them that those are the protocols as well as they may have the option of seeking legal representation in petitioning the Coroner’s Court whereby, they may have access to the video just as well as they may not.
“But those options from my legal officer (were) provided to the family.
“They were relatively satisfied, but we sort of guided them against the call to have this video made public because it could be disturbing to the family and it may not be something that the family wants disclosed to the public,” he said yesterday.