Police oppose special treatment charge

The police high command has blasted a suggestion that lawmen favoured whites and Indians and that cops were viewed as a threat to some communities.

Assistant Commissioner of Police Erwin Boyce rejected out of hand the argument put forward by youth activist Lumumba Batson that Barbados’ police force was biased in its treatment of black people.

Speaking at the Criminal Justice Research and Planning Unit’s first in a series of town hall discussions on Reducing Crime and Violence in Our Communities, Batson, said many young people believed there was a racial imbalance in the treatment they receive from police and some had little faith in lawmen.

“You ask why the youth may act a certain way against the police. They see the police as what [police call themselves] as a ‘force’, a force coming for them,” he said Wednesday at the Princess Margaret Secondary School in St Philip.

Batson, who lived for some time in the United States where he was incarcerated for 15 years, told the gathering: “When the police act out as if it is only us black people that are being killed, brutalised . . . something has to be wrong.

“Have you known the police to shoot an Indian or white person, even by accident? But this goes on in our communities.”

But Assistant Commissioner Boyce warned: “Some people in society perhaps need to be more focused on making a society of good people rather than to tell young [people] the Force is a threat . . . . You should be telling these youngsters there is a right way. Do the right thing as distinct from creating that anti-establishment mindset.”

In his presentation, the Barbados Youth Action Programme president charged: “The police in certain communities in Barbados are looked upon as being a threat.”

 Batson said for there to be serious crime solving, “you have to go to these communities . . . and not just [conduct] surface investigations . . . ask these youths why you feel this way towards the police.

“The things that you may hear you may not like but it is the reality that exists in certain communities in Barbados.”

The activist charged: “You have things that go on within the Police Force that other police cannot speak on. They cannot say. There is a code of silence.

“If there is a code of silence that exists among your organization why are you coming to the public and saying we need information when you are not having information disseminated even among yourselves?”

Batson’s criticism of local law enforcement, however, triggered strong responses Boyce, and Attorney General and Minister of Home Affairs, Adriel Brathwaite who were also on the panel.

“I understand where you are coming from”, Boyce said, but branded the activist’s comments “misleading”.

According to the senior cop: “[Batson] mentioned something about the code of silence and within the context of the police organization . . . . I’m proud to be a police officer because we are an organization that purges [itself] of any wrong-doing. We put people before the court who are police officers.”

The senior police officer responsible for the force’s administration said he was uncertain which communities saw his colleagues as a threat.

He made it clear, “We should never be seen as a threat. [Is it] a threat to insist on law and order?”

The senior cop went even further: “I think [Batson] needs to share some information with me so that we can get together and create a response that would reduce the level of uncertainty and threat that he has spoken to.”

Brathwaite agreed with Boyce on the need for residents to share with police their knowledge of suspicious activities.

“If you have information, please share it,” he urged.

Dismissing the argument that some people get special treatment because of their race, the Attorney General said, “the police only goes where the evidence and information lead them, and this section of our population who believes that there are whites and Indians who are protected, if they have the info give us the information”.

Brathwaite insisted police officers were not above the law and some have faced criminal prosecution.

“Don’t mind who you are, how senior you are in the Royal Barbados Police Force and you break the law they’re brought before the courts.”

Despite the senior cop and Minister’s appeals for information on which they could act, a member of the audience, David Elcock, offered examples of what he saw as police’s failure to act on information given by the public.

The contributor spoke of witnessing a passenger in a vehicle shoot into a bus but when he called and reported it to police, “I was surprised that the lady at the other end of the line didn’t ask me my name. She didn’t ask for the licence plates.”

Elcock said that on another occasion he reported to police a hazard of bright lights on mini-buses plying the West Coast, only to be told he should write letters to the mini-bus association and the Ministry of Transport and Works.

“I don’t think you handle information as well as you should,” he said.

“The way how you deal with the public and the way how you deal with info is key,” he added.

Source: by George Alleyne

4 Responses to Police oppose special treatment charge

  1. Alex Alleyne November 4, 2017 at 12:46 pm

    Just take a look at who are in the Court house, “Just us”.

    Reply
  2. MIIB November 4, 2017 at 2:34 pm

    All these forums can be defined as nothing but talking shops, no actions are ever derived from these groups, no accountability despite overwhelming Qualitative and Quantitative evidence. Ever offence is recorded. Ever conviction is recorded. Ever person that is institutionalised is recorded. I am at a lost as if Barbados has a Freedom Of Information Act? You trying to tell me you walk into a meeting without a previous formal request to collate statiscal concrete evidence to refute Massa’s Babylon? We have excellent police officers but all bow when they see caucus.

    The tone changes, the mannerism, the behaviour and persona changes. You don’t even need go so far, just use the BBT today archives or nation and print them walk with them, how many black citizens have they have interviewed in relation to police mannerism in dealing with us? You walk in a meeting that probably took for ever to organise and walk in with your two hands swinging…. smh

    Just for the record Barbados is not known for hard cannabis but for exquisite cocaine.

    Do the Maths…..

    Yawn…..

    Reply
  3. Whitehill November 4, 2017 at 8:41 pm

    @MIIB,
    With regards to mannerism and overall attitude, this is not only so with the police, just look at anywhere black bajans have to interact with whites or yellow skin people. I’ve seen it many time at the airport with custom agents as well.
    Knock their own about, but act dumb, timid and stupid when having to deal with the white guys .
    There is also a Stark contrast in attitude when the average bajan is serving whites when compared to black nappy head me.
    Just like the AG and that cop, they also deny this. I’ve on occasions gotten my white Canadian neighbor to accompany me on some errands, this is because I know what he can accomplish especially if a black female bajan is gonna be encountered.

    Reply
  4. orlando November 4, 2017 at 11:22 pm

    i heard Ashley Toppin made a speach on CBC before he died RIP ASHLEY. he said no jamaican ever want to be bajan. no american ever want to be bajan yet all the bajan youth want to jamaicans and americans. that in it self says all about our lawless youth. i was never one to talk crap about races .black white or brown. the black lawless youth in barbados brings everything bad on them selves. and as for the police a lot of times they get all the imformation they need to arrest people but they want people to come forward and put their names in news .a lot of people out on bail that they know did the crime . a lot of people still walking free even tho the evidence is there.the cops that lives in these crime areas always get the scoup so dont say nobody comes forward.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *