COP defends officers in viral video discharging their weapons

COP defends officers in viral video discharging their weapons
A screenshot of the shooting video

Commissioner says he has three videos which provide context to the incident

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Commissioner of Police Anthony Ferguson yesterday defended the Royal Bahama Police Force (RBPF) amid mixed public reaction to a viral video showing two purported plain clothes police officers discharging their weapons in the air in an apparent attempt to bring order to a disruptive crowd of people, some of whom were fiercely fighting.

Ferguson said he has viewed three videos in total that provided context to what led to the officers discharging their weapons into the air.

“We have seen it, absolutely we have seen it,” the commissioner said at Government House.

“But the video that came out, that was one. There are two other pieces of video that are behind there. I am not sure that you saw the other two, which clearly gives you a whole lot of information on a scenario leading up to what was seen.”

A 30-second video recording, taken by someone standing several feet away from the large crowd, shows a parked police vehicle, with lights flashing adjacent to the riotous group outside Starz Lounge off Tonique Williams Darling-Highway.

As the camera zooms and pans to the left, several people can be seen scattering as a fight ensues. It is unclear how many people are involved.

However, as the exchange of blows continue among several people, two men in plain clothes — one wearing a blue t-shirt and the other a white t-shirt – hold their firearms into the air and unload more than a dozen rounds.

Unphased by the gunshots, the fight continues. One man can be seen taking a swing at the officer in white, who tosses his attacker to the ground.

Onlookers in the background can be heard inaudibly shouting and screaming.

At one point during, a woman can heard saying: “look, they fight the police.”

The men continue to fight as the videos comes to an end.

The matter was not included in the daily crime reports. It was unclear if anyone as injured as a result of the brawl.

The video which made the rounds of social media received mixed reactions from the public, with some defending the officers’ actions. Others expressed grave concern about the potential hazards associated with discharging a firearm so close to a crowd during what some described as a chaotic scene.

Yesterday, Ferguson acknowledged there are internal challenges the police force must address, but he maintained that police officers throughout the country continue to do an “extremely good job” in upholding safety and security.   

“And so, there are things, challenges that we are working with in respect to our side, but what we have seen is this anti-social behavior by Bahamians, by Bahamians — going out [and] cannot behave themselves when going to a nightclub; they’re fighting; they’re using tools; persons are being injured; there’s [a] lot of dirty language being used by them and those things are not acceptable.

“Those things are not acceptable for an ordinary society. Ordinary people would not tolerate those kinds of things, but there are persons who will only want to focus on some things. They do focus on the whole pie; they want to focus on just a quarter.

“And so, I think it is something that we all as a nation have to work together and learn to be honest in what we say and how we judge people, and how we talk about people. We have to be extremely careful with that. I would say that the police are doing an extremely good job and will continue to make sure that the Bahamian people are safe as we go through this Christmas season.”