It’s time for Grenada as a society to do some stocktaking on the use of force by the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) on the civilian population.
The latest shooting incident involving a member of the Drug Squad of the police force should result in the powers-that-be taking serious note of what is happening.
The key motto of RGPF is to protect and serve and by extension all police officers should see themselves as playing a role in ensuring that the law is enforced and not consider themselves as “the law”.
The laws are passed by those elected in the House of Representatives and RGPF has a major role in helping to administer those very said laws.
This very unfortunate shooting incident at Springs, St. George’s on Saturday afternoon brings back memory of the Frederick “Ballah” Noel shooting incident in the Bocas, St. George’s a few years ago.
Again, it was a police officer allegedly involved in a 3-way love affair that went sour between the parties.
The only major difference is that the police officer involved in the latest shooting was facing a barrage of stones from someone who became irate over what was happening before his very own eyes.
The big question to be asked in the Springs incident is the following: Was the life of the police officer under threat so as to warrant him to shoot the individual?
The related question is: Was a warning shot fired in the air by the officer in the first instance in order to scare off the other man?
From our investigation, persons in the area reported hearing only one gun shot and no more.
It begs the question: Was reasonable force used in the circumstances or the policeman resorted to excessive force in the circumstances.
There are so many questions that need to be answered especially when a policeman has to pull his weapon and fire on a civilian.
Was the Drug Squad member attacked while on duty or going on his own frolic?
Why was he in the area? Was he on official duties or put simplier – was he called into Springs to investigate some drug-related or illegal activities?
And RGPF is compounding the situation by keeping the public totally in the dark on the shooting of another civilian by one of its members.
The police force was quick to put out an official release on the fatal shooting incident involving Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Damian Lee at his home in Williamson Road but is dead silent on this one. Why?
One school of thought is that the latest victim is not dead and the situation does not warrant the putting out of a release at this point in time since an investigation is taking place.
Isn’t this arrogant, high-handed and insensitive behaviour by RGPF?
It matters not the status of the individual who was shot but the overriding issue is the public’s right to know what has happened.
It is still a human being who was shot by a police officer in certain circumstances.
The police force is not a law unto itself. The taxpayer’s purse is responsible for their upkeep and not the Police Welfare Association.
Information passed onto us by the family is that up to five days after the shooting not one member of RFPF including the Acting Commissioner of Police, Winston James has been in contact with any one of them.
The family is also alleging that not one police investigator has visited the injured man at the hospital to get his side of the story.
THE NEW TODAY is not taking any side in the incident but want to remind RGPF that actions speak louder than words in all circumstances.
The police force will be judged by perception and if the public gets the impression that cases are given priority due to class and status in society then citizens will come to their own conclusions.