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This behaviour is totally unacceptable – COP

This behaviour is totally unacceptable – COP

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Commissioner of Police (COP) Renold Hadaway has described as “totally unacceptable”, the actions of two police officers whose behaviour was captured by the video camera of a smart phone in Georgetown last Sunday, October 23 at around 5:24 p.m.

The video, which went viral after being uploaded on SEARCHLIGHT’s Facebook page (www.Facebook.com/ Searchlight1) on Sunday night was recorded by a civilian who was hanging out in Georgetown with his friends.

The video shows two police officers, with one dressed in a blue T-shirt and army fatigues trying to restrain another officer, who is dressed in a white vest and a grey cut-off pants.{{more}}

The white vest clad officer is trying to get to a civilian who is moving away from him. At one point, he picks up a piece of concrete block to hit the civilian, but does not get the opportunity to do so, as his colleague in the army fatigues gets in the way.

The officer who is trying to separate the two men then draws his service weapon and charges it, after which he is pushed by his colleague and stumbles over a gutter, all the while holding the firearm in his hand. He continues to separate the men and eventually discharges the firearm into the air.

On numerous occasions, the officer in the fatigues uses expletives and hits the other officer in the head.

The man who recorded the video explained that the civilian had lent his car to the officer in the vest on Sunday morning and had been trying to reach him for the entire day to have the vehicle returned. The owner of the vehicle saw the two officers arrive at the scene where the melee eventually took place and approached the duo to ask for his vehicle. An argument ensued and escalated into what was recorded.

According to the person who did the recording, what is troubling is that many children were around and the police officers appeared to be intoxicated. He said that they had come to the area to stop some youngsters from blowing bamboo joints, which was strange in itself, as during this season, residents are usually allowed to take part in the traditional blowing of bamboo.

“They were drunk to me. I even gave them rum to drink,” said the civilian who recorded the incident. He said that in his opinion, the way the officer was brandishing the firearm, the situation could have easily ended in a tragedy.

He said that the officer in the vest also struck a white jeep that was in the area with the civilian’s vehicle and exited the vehicle without pulling up the handbrake, at which time a girl told him that the vehicle was rolling away and he should apply the brakes.

After becoming aware that the incident had been recorded, the police officer in fatigues tried to take away the phone that made the recording, but was unsuccessful.

On Tuesday, Hadaway said that he had seen the recording and what transpired “is totally unacceptable and unbecoming conduct of police officers.”

The Commissioner said that conduct of this nature can tarnish the reputation of the organization and would not be tolerated.

“We spoke to the parties involved on Monday and we have initiated the internal disciplinary procedure to address the matter,” said the top cop, who revealed that the officer in fatigues was on duty and is stationed at the Georgetown Police Station, while the other officer is attached to the Police Force band.

The officers are still at work awaiting the outcome of the investigation.

“I cannot say what the disciplinary measures would be until the matter is fully investigated. We want to address it in very short time frame because of the magnitude of the act perpetrated by the officers. We want to ensure that a message is sent and persons so inclined will think twice because it is acts like these that cause the public to lose confidence in the police and criticize the organization,” said Commissioner Hadaway.

He said that the hierarchy of the constabulary is doing its best to ensure that the police use conduct that is acceptable to the public, but “unfortunately sometimes some officers go contrary to what is practised and what is accepted and whenever these persons so do we take the appropriate measures to address the problem.”

The Commissioner continued, “When the findings of the investigations come to my attention, then we can truly assess what transpired and the appropriate course of action to take. We do not want to act with haste and out of emotions to address an issue like that. We have to deal with it on the basis of facts and the evidence before us.”

The video has come up for much debate on social media, with the majority of persons disapproving of the behaviour of the officers. Up to press time on Wednesday morning, the video had reached 258,244 people and had been viewed 165,000 times.

A Facebook user by the name of Adrian Odle commented, “At one point in time, ALL policemen carried themselves with honour and pride in their character. Now we have some less than honourable characters defaming those who do good in the royal police force. Those who do good in the force please press on and continue.”

Britney C Mills commented, “How can you call yourself a police officer when you’re on duty and also under the influence of ALCOHOL defacing the property of others. The guy asked you for his vehicle key how can you say you’re not going to give him and it’s his vehicle? Already run it into the white jeep in front. SMH Vincy?? Firing off shots in such manner anything could have happened to anyone who was there. But it’s always a good thing to have them on TAPE!” (LC)

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