Miller: Police brutality concerns abroad, does not fit local situation
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — As anti-police brutality protests continue in parts of the United States and other jurisdictions, Police Staff Association (PSA) Executive Chairman Sergeant Sonny Milller said law abiding residents of The Bahamas have nothing to fear from police.
In an interview with Eyewitness News, Milller said taking a life of a suspect to neutralize a threat is never something to celebrate, though officers are prepared to use any lawful means to protect their lives and the lives of others.
“We have heard the cries of a number of persons here in The Bahamas speaking about police brutality and all sorts of stuff, but Bahamians have nothing to fear because we know that there is a Complaints and Corruption Unit in the Royal Bahamas Police Force that investigates our members, and if you want to know about the Police Staff Association, we don’t condone wrongdoing.”
He continued: “What is going on around us as a country does not so much fit what is going on here at home… Whether is it police or not, if someone takes a weapon out at you or anyone, and you have a weapon, there is only one option — you have got to protect your own life. That is why good, decent citizens, in this beloved country that we protect, they understand what is going on and we know we have their support, and we are going to continue to protect them.”
Police shot and killed three men on Cowpen Road over the weekend after an officer was “ambushed”, according to Police Commissioner Paul Rolle.
None of the officers were injured.
“We go out there daily expecting to ensure members of the public, citizens of this beloved country, remain safe and it’s our job to keep them safe by maintaining law and order,” Miller said.
“One of the things I want to highlight is every time our members leave home, there is no certainty they will return home, so we ask the good, decent citizens of this Bahamas to continue praying and abiding by the law.
“There is only a small fraction who believe they can take the law into their own hands. And, even though there are situations where the officers are being shot at and they return fire, those officers — despite what may happen to the perpetrator or the slime that decides to fire upon them — these officers still have to get help.
“Our members still have to get help after doing that. It’s not like our members go out and say let’s kill this person or and say let’s try to get a kill; no because our officers still need help.”
“Even though they shot someone, we do not celebrate that; no, we don’t
“We have to ensure that our members go through psychiatric evaluation and testing, and all sorts of stuff before going back out there. So, we go through that pain internally as well, [though] people may not see that side of it because we don’t complain. And there are some things we don’t publicize.
The standoff on Saturday that resulted in the three men being killed prompted debate about justifiable force.
Anti-police brutality protests have persisted for several weeks in numerous jurisdictions after George Floyd, an African American man, died while in police custody in late March.
Miller said the association has been following the situation and the social media discourse in The Bahamas.
He acknowledged some officers have been found culpable of wrongdoing including unlawfully killing individuals in The Bahamas — something he said the police force has no place for and the association will always condemn and root out.
When asked about the introduction of body cameras to improve accountability on the police force, Miller said he believes the program will go a long way.
While he did not go into detail, the executive chairman said he also expects further announcements to be made by the commissioner as to the roll out of body cameras and other equipment that could assist officers in the course of their duty.