Thursday, June 4, 2020

‘Why Ignore The Problems Here?’: Activist Asks Why U.S. Police Brutality Enrages Us But Not Local Issues

Demonstrators stand in front of police in riot gear as they gather to protest the death of George Floyd, Saturday, near the White House in Washington. Floyd died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Tribune Senior Reporter

AS Bahamians show solidarity with protests against excessive and deadly policing of black people in the United States, one local activist says residents should show similar interest in incidents of questionable police conduct in The Bahamas.

Khandi Gibson, head of Families of All Murder Victims, said more accountability could be achieved in The Bahamas if the public demanded it. “It’s like we Bahamians take on the US problems and ignore our own,” she said yesterday. “But we have issues here every day and people don’t pay as much attention to them.”

Issues involving local policing have been long-running themes for years. Some residents who report police abuses to the Police Complaints Unit say they never receive a response. Inquests into police-involved killings can take years to complete and unlawful killing verdicts at the Coroner’s Court may not translate into the prosecutions desired by grieving families. Defence lawyers have also long lamented the harsh interrogation tactics sometimes used, which they say amount to unconstitutional forced confessions.

Just in January, videos of officers beating several people on the sidelines of the 2020 New Year’s Junkanoo Parade went viral and sparked outrage because the men were beaten while standing against a wall and were not resisting arrest. The results of the investigation into the matter have not been revealed.

“I want to see more local police officers held accountable,” Ms Gibson said.  Read more >>