Rights Bahamas supports independent police investigation

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Right Bahamas yesterday expressed support for Opposition Leader Philip Brave Davis’ call for the government to engage an independent body to investigate last Friday’s police-involved shooting which resulted in three men being killed in a home off Eastern Road.

“We have long said that the police cannot police themselves and in the face of claims that, contrary to the official version of events… an independent and objective probe is absolutely necessary,” Rights Bahamas said in a statement.

“We suggest that a reputable overseas private investigation company be engaged by the government to look into this and all other cases like it.

“The company should be tasked with producing a detailed report of the incident after conducting witness interviews, interviews with the officers, an examination of the physical evidence, including the weapons purported to have been fired by the deceased men; ballistics tests and whatever other forms of forensic studies are necessary to get to the truth.

“They should report to the Director of Public Prosecutions, not the Ministry of National Security or the Office of the Prime Minister.”

Opposition Leader Philip Brave Davis suggested to reporters outside the House of Assembly on Wednesday that the time has come for the government to engage an independent forensic crime investigator to determine the “truth of the matter”.

Last Friday, three men were police killed in a home off Eastern Road after officers said the men opened fire on them when they attempted to execute a search warrant.

Outside Cabinet Tuesday, Minister of National Security Marcin Dames said the officers did “what they had to do”.

Davis said the public should raise an eyebrow whenever the “state is the perpetrator of killings”.

He stressed that there is no desire to see police officers killed and they ought to be able to protect themselves, but said when conflicting versions of events emerge “it is worrying”.

According to Right Bahamas, the use of a foreign entity is the best way to protect the interest of the officers as well as the relatives of the deceased from political interference.

The group added that it is unacceptable for the public to accept the claims of officers involved in police involved shootings

It said, “It is not a question of trusting or not trusting the officers; it is a matter of acknowledging that justice must not just be done, it must also be seen to be done beyond any reasonable doubt.