“THEY ONLY TERRORIZE US”: Some young Bahamian men losing trust in RBPF in light of police brutality claims

“THEY ONLY TERRORIZE US”: Some young Bahamian men losing trust in RBPF in light of police brutality claims
Police officers. [FILE PHOTO]

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — A set of young men said they have lost trust in the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) in light of recent police brutality incidents.

This comes after a string of police-involved shootings and reports of police using excessive force across the island inundated headlines over the past several weeks.

22-year-old Uriah Ferguson said: “When it comes to police brutality, it’s so bad right now. No one trusts the police.”

Ferguson, who lives in an inner-city community, claimed that when his neighbors see the police, they get angry because “[police] only coming to terrorize us”.

He told Eyewitness News he has witnessed police take advantage of their power.

“When it comes to police brutality, I don’t even think they could fix that, to be honest,” Ferguson said.

“To be honest, I just is stay inside because of that. I’d stay inside and to stay out of people way, because when we see these police, we try our best to avoid them.

“They would say: ‘Why you running? You gat something?’ No, we running because the minute y’all come to us it’s ‘where the half-pound; where the quarter ounce?’ and they lock you up even when you don’t have nothing.”

Instances such as these have made young men fearful of the people who are supposed to protect them, Ferguson said.

When asked if he trusts the police, a 19-year-old who wished to be referred to as “Del” said: “Thinking about last year, not as much.”

The teen noted that although he hasn’t been a victim of police brutality, he knows people who have.

He said that police in The Bahamas have become a replica of police in The United States, adding that the death of George Floyd still has him shaken to this day.

Knowing that he could be beaten or possibly shot by police is something Del admitted he is afraid of.

“Just knowing I could get stop any time of the day because somebody falsely reported a crime against me, knowing it’s something I didn’t do, scares me,” the teen said.

Three young men on March 8 were not as lucky as Del to be free from police, however, as they were detained at the Arawak Cay Police Station.

In an audio recording allegedly of the incident, the distinct sound of slapping rings out as a man says: “You know who I is? My name is Derrick Ferguson, assistant superintendent of police. You hear me? Put your hands down. Look at me. Look at me.”

Commissioner of Police Paul Rolle has said the incident is being investigated and the officer has been placed on administrative leave pending investigation.

He noted that he has been making efforts to improve the organization’s image and that he will continue to do so.

The three young men, aged 19, 23 and 26, decided to take legal action after filing a complaint with the police.

To help mend issues such as this, Del said: “Maybe police should start going to schools and get to know the men of The Bahamas.

“If we work together and get to know each other, it could lower the fear many have and build back the trust in police.”

Written by Eyewitness News Intern Devonté Hanna


Perhaps the six month training is not enough! My son experienced police brutality after pulling people away from a fight. He worked with top cops for years in the Urban Renewal project.

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