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Commissioner Miller questions truthfulness of complaints

Commissioner Miller questions truthfulness of complaints

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STORIES of alleged police brutality continue to dominate the media, but the top cop says that he believes that some of the complaints are orchestrated in an attempt by some, to get rid of the Rapid Response Unit (RRU).{{more}}

Commissioner of Police (COP) Keith Miller on Wednesday May 6th, suggested to SEARCHLIGHT that he believes that in some areas, like Chateaubeliar, some people would like to see the RRU, also known as the Black Squad moved, so that they can engage in their illegal activities without interference.

Miller questioned the truthfulness of some of the claims made by people over the last few months about being beaten by police.

“Is that logical,” he asked rhetorically, as he further suggested that many people are making their claims to newspapers because they “know that there is an accommodation.”

“The media is the media, but they must not just readily take a story,” Miller said, and asked if the wounds of persons making complaints had been examined.

“It is very aggressive out there,” he further said.

But while the COP has many questions about the alleged instances of brutality, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, at a press conference earlier that same day said that some of the reports may have been concocted, “but I think most reasonable persons will say that some of them must be true.”

Dr Gonsalves, responding to a question asked by SEARCHLIGHT on the matter, reiterated that his government does not condone police excesses, and said that he has directed the COP and the Deputy COP to deal with the issue.

The Prime Minister urged persons to make reports to the Police Oversight Body, which is chaired by Rev Victor Job and even to take the police officers to court.

“I have always held that you do not get the necessary results, which are just, if the police have to investigate themselves on issues of police brutality,” Dr Gonsalves said.

Meanwhile, at press time meetings were to be held with the rank and file of the police force and the members of the RRU.

COP Miller confirmed this to SEARCHLIGHT.

He also announced plans to address concerns raised by some that they are unable to identify officers in the RRU, if they are to lodge a complaint against any of them.

Soon RRU officers will have their names displayed on their uniforms, and an order has gone out to the rest of the force that only officers attached to the RRU should work in the black clothing associated with that squad.

The COP also indicated that he has asked the Public Relations and Complaints department to do an audit of the reports that have been made against the police by the public.

On April 30th, SEARCHLIGHT wrote to Inspector Jonathan Nicholls requesting an update on eight complaints that have been made against the police that have been featured in our publication over the last 12 months.

The view has been expressed that even though reports are made to the police about police misconduct, nothing is heard about the outcome of these internal investigations.

“Transparency is important,” declared attorney Jomo Thomas, whose socio/political organization, the People’s Movement for Change (PMC) held a two hour, albeit very poorly attended protest, outside the police headquarters on Wednesday.

Thomas dismissed Dr Gonsalves’ statements about not condoning brutality as just talk.

The PMC plans to hold similar protests every Wednesday.

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