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CID Chief on leave over voice notes

Chief Superintendent Michael Johnson speaks to members of the press near Sixth St and Poinciana Ave where a man was shot to death near the St Barnabas Urban Community Centre earlier this year. Photo::: Dante Carrer/Tribune Staff

Chief Superintendent Michael Johnson speaks to members of the press near Sixth St and Poinciana Ave where a man was shot to death near the St Barnabas Urban Community Centre earlier this year. Photo::: Dante Carrer/Tribune Staff

• Commissioner to speak today after allegations

• FNM urges bringing in international investigators

• Two men reportedly heard on notes killed this year

By JADE RUSSELL

Tribune Staff Reporter

jrussell@tribunemedia.net

CHIEF Superintendent of Police Michael Johnson, the officer in charge of the Criminal Investigation Department, has taken garden leave as authorities investigate several voice notes that purport to capture conversations involving him, a well-known lawyer and Michael Fox, Jr, a man police described as a prominent gang leader when he was killed in May. 

Another man, Dino Smith, was killed in January and is also featured on the voice notes, which spread rapidly last week and brought the credibility of the Royal Bahamas Police Force under scrutiny in an era where police have repeatedly blamed the high murder rate on gang violence and the Davis administration has talked much about strengthening anti-gang laws.

Commissioner Fernander is expected to address the matter during a press conference today. 

 On Friday, he said the force takes the allegations stemming from voice notes seriously and is committed to maintaining the highest integrity and transparency. He said Chief Superintendent of Police Anthon Rahming will assume Mr Johnson’s CID responsibilities during this period.

Free National Movement chairman Dr Duane Sands urged Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis and National Security Minister Wayne Munroe to request help from the FBI and Scotland Yard, adding that a Commission of Inquiry could be necessary if that fails. 

“While we believe in the presumption of innocence for all, the startling contents of the circulated notes have far-reaching implications for many investigations and the public’s view of the RBPF in general,” he said in a statement on Friday.

The Tribune reached out to Mr Johnson yesterday, but the call disconnected after the reporter identified himself.

Fox’s Fleming Street murder on May 7 prompted Fox Hill MP Fred Mitchell to warn his constituents to expect tit-for-tat killings. Such was the significance of his murder: police claimed he was a major player in the Outlaws gang.

The five leaked voice notes feature conversations seemingly about an arrangement that would allow the police to drop their investigation into Fox and his associates.

Police had issued wanted posters for Fox and Smith concerning the theft of $1,475,000 from an unattended security vehicle transporting cash for the Bank of the Bahamas to a private airport on November 2. However, the men were never charged with the incident.

Fox was paralysed eight years ago after he was shot while reportedly repairing a car on Ida Street. 

In 2019, the Court of Appeal overturned Smith’s 18-year manslaughter conviction for the death of Levardo Deveaux on Fowler Street.

Comments

John 6 days, 23 hours ago

First of all be curious if the origin of these voice notes and the intention of circulating them. $1.5 million is a lot of money to go missing. Remember similar voice notes were circulated after the early morning shooting at a privately owned airport. The intent to implicate someone in the murder. Apparently the plot backfired. .

. Parents, especially single mothers have been crying out and hollering for justice when they claim police ‘pick up my son, beat him and put all kinds charges on him, sometimes even murders. Sometimes the young never made it to court especially after they were outfitted with ankle bracelets.and some were left permanently scarred with internal injuries, broken arms, ribs legs.. . Be wary of calls to defund the police or even to call in external sources to do investigations. Some of the organizations mentioned hav just as much ‘internal irregularities’ as the local police force. And the signal it will send ‘ incapable of managing our own affairs?’ If the investigation warrants prosecution then do it without fear or favor.

TalRussell 6 days, 22 hours ago

Even the Policemans' are acknowledging "shock" from the news that's fast traveling amongst the colony's uniformed and plain clothes branches as news spread quickly on the ground and online to know which is which and what is what as they carry-on with their investigation. -- Yes?

John 6 days, 22 hours ago

The facts are this is not news… not new news for certain. One just needs to go through the Tribune’s blogs and see how many times it was mentioned and for long. How many young men were murdered as soon as they walked out the prison gates or shortly after. Yes there needs to be an investigation and a commission. But take a hint. The local police are just the middle tier. And there is a top tier.

Tarzan 6 days, 22 hours ago

It would be wonderful journalism if the article told us what "voice notes" are and at least summarized the content that suggests corruption by senior police officials.

John 6 days, 21 hours ago

The Tribune is cautious so as not to get sued for libel should tge voice notes turn out to be false. But they were all over social media. The commissioner says he is already in talks with both Scotland Yard and the FBI to launch an investigation. T’s a tangled web to unweave

ThisIsOurs 6 days, 21 hours ago

The Nassau Guardian has the transcript. I maintain that a person who wasnt on the voice note would say, "that's not me", it does them no good to sit around wairing as their reputation is damaged if they know it's not them. Noone has made a statement.

ThisIsOurs 6 days, 21 hours ago

"He appealed to members of the press to understand the sensitivity of the investigation, and asked for cooperation in allowing investigators to proceed thoroughly and accurately."

Cooperation with what? To keep the issue quiet? How were the police able to narrow down a voice note to the head of the criminal investigation dept?

That aside, people that work with an individual can very quickly determine if a recorded voice sounds like that person. The next question to ask the person is, is this you? And the person says, no bey that's fake. The next thing to do is call BTC and find out if they have any evidence of a call between this number and that number. If they dont have the phone numbers they ask, do you have phone numbers registered to these individuals? Any calls between any of those numbers?

How long do these obvious questions take to answer? A few hours, but let's say 3 days because other stuff is going on.. like BEC power failures.

We do not have to go through 3 months of silence on this. The commissioner should by the end of this week be able to say, the head of the criminal investigation dept is not the person in the voice note or we have reason to believe he is the person on the voice note

SP 6 days, 2 hours ago

"BEC power failures" 🤣

TalRussell 6 days, 20 hours ago

Why, "What I hearin' via the Online Grapevine" is becoming more the News than than via the colony's print media and talk radio and the government, -- Which have become even more entwined in vicious circles of mutual self-interests' and protection. -- So much for the age of "Papa'' Hubert's' opening-up of Media Platforms. -- Yes?

realfreethinker 6 days, 19 hours ago

Have them also investigate the deaths of those 5 men on kemp road a few years ago. Wayne Munroe was all over the news a few years demanding that the ministry of national release the tapes. Now that he is in charge of that ministry he has gone silent.

TalRussell 6 days, 19 hours ago

How to deal with a 'know-it-all' Talk Show host, who always insists upon talkin'-over opposing viewpoints...Even whilst dismissing alternative opinions ... Kept at a bare minimum of phone-ins during the 2PM to 4PM Hour. -- Now, he aims to lead a Commission of Inquiry into policing matters. -- Yes?

John 6 days, 17 hours ago

Again start with ‘who activated the voice notes and shared them around generously and the motive. During the drug era, the DEA agents would make contact with the dealer and win his confidence. Then after they got on a buddy, buddy friend basis, the agent would discuss making a deal and the dealer would let his guard down. He would contact his courses and reveal his confidential information to the agent. The deal would go through only for the dealer to find it was paid for with counterfeit money, the drugs get confiscated, the agent goes to another jurisdiction and the dealer goes to jail. He can no longer contact his suppliers even when he is released from jail because he is considered a snitch and plus the supplier still hasn’t been paid because the money he got was counterfeit . So a police strikes a similar deal for which he is offered to be paid. He may not know he is being set up and after making the first deal he is more comfortable being ‘on the take’. All the while his conversations and dealings are being recorded.., then one day the mud hits the fan.

rosiepi 6 days, 17 hours ago

John, you should read your ramblings before hitting ‘post’ as you’re constantly talking out of both sides of your mouth and neither is making any sense Why are you “curious” about the intent behind circulating these collaborative conversations, isn’t this clear to you?

Sure $1.5M is alot of money, but given the nature of the conversations and their implications it’s just enough to keep the head of the CID and his police gang sweet allowing murderers, drug and robbery kingpins impunity in the Bahamas!

And you’re willing to risk another do nothing investigation, ie maintaining the status quo, in order to keep outside professional law enforcement from delving ‘too’ deep, exposing the corruption that permeates the RBPF and the Bahamas? Just to forego the indignity of the Bahamas being seen as “ incapable of managing her own affairs”?

That ship has sailed John, and worse that fat conman traveling the world wearing shiny $4k suits with an entourage the Bahamas can ill afford? He’s our corruption bell ringer!

ThisIsOurs 6 days, 16 hours ago

Agreed, I'm just waiting for the outrage to start when the world media uses corruption and Bshsmas in the same sentence in relation to this investigation

I just read that Dino Smith was the man killed in that brazen Prince Charles shooting. The other guy was killed as well, this means this voice note had to be recorded months ago, months. Months with the CDU head in charge. and somebody being subject to the revelation of this secret voice note.

SP 6 days, 2 hours ago

😳 Who would have ever believed that there is massive systemic corruption at the highest levels in the Bahamas? 🙄

SP 6 days, 2 hours ago

Dr Duane Sands can urge Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis and National Security Minister Wayne Munroe to request help from the FBI and Scotland Yard until Christ himself comes.

There are far too many skeletons in "elite closets" to allow the FBI and Scotland Yard to do any investigations in the Bahamas.

It can NEVER happen!

ExposedU2C 5 days, 20 hours ago

Rumour on the street has it that The Tribune's owners and management have been told by Bahamian law enforcement officials to "lock down" all future public comments by its online readers about this developing story.

ThisIsOurs 5 days, 20 hours ago

No idea of true but wouldnt be surprised. It's odd though. The US media has running commentary on corruption allegations, the Police Commissioners come out and give statements and not one of them says we can only investigate if everybody stops talking about this case. Its odd

birdiestrachan 5 days, 20 hours ago

A bunch of foolishness quick to believe this voice mail there has to be more than that some can imitate voices easily, now some one shoots him on tape , the tribune should know better is this toggie and boggie AGAIN to destroy a man’s reputation so easily more investigators are necessary

birdiestrachan 5 days, 20 hours ago

Scotland Yard should investigate the sands after the case with Mrs Hanna and Mr Smith that was a shame and the lawyer said so then they promoted the police who called witnesses together to get their story as one do any of you believe Scotland Yard would call the Bahamas to investigate their cases , they are not gods they are mere mortals just like Bahamians all those who call Bahamians corrupt are the corrupt ones I am not corrupt

ThisIsOurs 5 days, 6 hours ago

For once birdie I agree with one thing you've said, Scotland Yard should investigate everybody.

Because its virtually impossible for one man to orchestrate and execute this alledged scheme, nobody notice anything strange? Nobody ask any questions? Nobody had any phones tapped after man on bail mysteriously gets shot one after the next? Because the public has certainly been asking for more than a year whether these ankle monitor locations were being revealed with ill intent in mind. Nobody in leadership was even curious? The national security minister nor the PM ever posed the question? Noone? Noone in cabinet said we need an internal police probe? I know I've personally said something was wrong that so many police officers were being caught in crimes. It's all documented in the Tribune. The most serious was an officer caught trying to run from a getaway car after being involved in a drive by shooting targeting a man on bail.

At minimum the requirements to enter the police force have to change. This is not the place to stuff with rejects who cant find a job. The mysterious physical damage to prisoners at police stations where nobody know what happened has to stop. The assaults at traffic stops dont ask questions have to stop. If the police force becomes a rogue organization where exactly are we headed as a country?

I'm still baffled that two men had the temerity to hold Brave Davis and his family hostage at his westridge home. I mean imagine who would consider that? Anyway, they're both dead now, shot while on bail.

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