NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Police Commissioner Anthony Ferguson said he is confident in the current practices employed by the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) when it comes to the carriage of their duties and the investigation of police-involved killings.
His comments came on the heels of concerns raised by attorney Ramona Farquharson-Seymour in the wake of a decision handed down in the coroner’s court, which indicated that an officer unlawfully shot and killed a man during a foot chase in Nassau Village in 2016.
Farquharson-Seymour, while addressing the media on Wednesday, made a number of suggestions for the police force to consider when investigating internal matters.
She suggested that the police force needed an independent investigative team to handle the review of police involved killings.
The Commissioner told media yesterday that Farquharson-Seymour’s suggestion is a decision which lies outside of his purview.
“I have great confidence in the parliament of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas and if the parliament desires change in the legislation, they will do so,” he said.
“Until that happens I think that police need to be focused on locking up criminals and putting them before the courts.”
Meanwhile, there are critics who have suggested that officers are “trigger happy,” and need further training on when to lawfully use their weapons.
The Commissioner shot down those assertions.
“Every single day police officers are trained and I believe that will not stop. So, we will continue to train,” he said.
“I think sometimes we tend to jump the gun so quickly when we hear things. I am not inclined to comment on a decision made in another arena.
“But, police will continue to do their jobs.”
The coroner’s court ruled that Detective Constable 3569 Kendrick Brown unlawfully shot and killed 22-year-old Osworth Rolle Jr. on November 30, 2016.
He has remained on active duty since the incident unfolded; a decision which Farquharson-Seymour also questioned on Wednesday.
“At this stage the officer is on active duty and at this stage there is nothing that prevents him from being on active duty,” the commissioner said.
Asked whether or not the force should reconsider its archaic practices as it relates to allowing officers to remain on active duty when found in questionable positions, the Commissioner again diverted the responsibility to a higher authority.
“I think we need to respect the fact that we are a sovereign nation with a parliament that makes laws. So, we will abide by the laws that are made in parliament,” he said.
Farquharson-Seymour confirmed to media on Wednesday that depending on the Director of Public Prosecutions’ response to the coroner’s decision; the victim’s family may consider pursuing private prosecution against detective constable Brown.