LESS POLICE KILLINGS? MAYBE: Acting COP says use of non-lethal weapons still up for discussion

LESS POLICE KILLINGS? MAYBE: Acting COP says use of non-lethal weapons still up for discussion
Officers of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) and Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) undergo a Tradewinds 2018 military training exercise in June 2018. (BIS)

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — With another recent police-involved shooting leading to calls for the use of more non-lethal force from officers, police officials said the matter is still on the table for consideration. 

Leading Seaman Rodney Adderley, who was shot and killed by police on Monday, January 10, 2022.

Acting Commissioner of Police Clayton Fernander made the comment on Monday while responding to questions about officers being trained to use weapons such as tasers as opposed to guns when dealing with certain matters.

The issue resurfaced after the shooting death of Leading Seaman Rodney Adderley by police. 

Fernander said training will be implemented in the use of non-lethal force, but noted that the commissioner will speak to the matter during his press briefing to be held at a later date.

In January 2020, then Minister of National Security Marvin Dames announced that senior officials were preparing to meet with Arizona-based Axon Enterprise, formerly TASER International, an industry leader in weapons and technology development for law enforcement and civilians, to determine the viability of their use.

At the time, Police Staff Association (PSA) Executive Chairman Sonny Miller said less-lethal force weapons were a welcome resource.

When asked at the time if the introduction of tasers could see fewer fatal police-involved shootings, Miller said he was uncertain, noting that many of those incidents occurred as a result of very serious matters.

However, there has been little to no public movement on the initiative to date.

Acting COP Clayton Fernander (center).

There were 21 police-involved shooting incidents in 2021, 13 of which were fatal, according to Commissioner of Police Paul Rolle. 

Rolle advised that he appointed a committee within the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) to look at every one of those police-involved shootings and address the matter internally.

That committee includes Fernander, Leamond Deleveaux, Zhivago Dames and Father Stephen Davies.

Rolle said those officers have already been given five files to review that are concerning and once that is completed, he will make a recommendation to the coroner. 

Asked about criticism over officers investigating other officers, Fernander on Monday assured that the “process will be fair” and all of the matters involving police shootings will be turned over to the coroner and their team, who are independent of the police. 

About Sloan Smith

Sloan Smith is a senior digital reporter at Eyewitness News, covering a diverse range of beats, from politics and crime to environment and human interest. In 2018, Sloan received a nomination for the “Leslie Higgs Feature Writer of The Year Award” from The Bahamas Press Club for her work with Eyewitness News.