Dames: No cover-ups in police-involved shooting
Responding to calls from Centreville MP Reece Chipman for a full report into the police shooting of Deangelo Evans, 20, of Mason’s Addition, National Security Minister Marvin Dames noted yesterday that there is already a procedure in place, but insisted that there will be “no cover-ups” in the investigation process.
Police said Evans was shot and killed after he pointed a gun at officers on Sandy Lane, off McCullough Corner on Sunday morning.
During a press conference at Evans’ home on Monday, Chipman insisted that a report would allow the community to heal and help to bridge the gap between the community and police relations.
Addressing the matter outside of Cabinet, Dames said, “We do currently have a process, a procedure in place, and we tend to adhere to that procedure.
“So, it’s as simple as that.”
Her Majesty’s Coroner is tasked with investigating police-involved shootings.
There have been eight fatal police shootings so far for the year.
“What we are faced with in this country is the fact that a vast majority of the crimes that occur on the streets of New Providence involve persons brandishing firearms,” Dames said.
“Well over 80 percent of the armed robberies and the homicides are firearms-related.
“I am not speaking to the incident that would have occurred a few days ago – that is currently under investigation.
“The officer or officers involved in that will have their day of accounting, and if they did something outside of their scope of responsibility, then they will have to account before the coroner’s court on that particular matter.
“If they acted in good faith in the execution of their duty, then they will be vindicated.
“This happens all over the world. This is nothing new. We are in a gun culture. Are there things that we need to do better? Absolutely.
“… Every time an officer pulls a trigger, he or she has to account for their actions, and there will be no cover-ups, but we have to allow the process to run its course.”
Dames insisted, “Whether we like it or not, that’s what it is today.
“Whether we need to make improvements, and I would say that you always have to look at where you are at and see what do you need to do to improve, because at the end of the day what we want is transparency.
“We don’t want to see police officers taking laws into their own hands. We never want to see that. And wherever that happens there are consequences. On the other side, we don’t want to take officers and crucify them before there’s an opportunity for the law to run its course, and we have to be cognizant of that as well.”
The recent shooting has triggered tension in the Mason’s Addition community, along with an ongoing national conversation over the police’s use of force.
Asked whether he believes public outcry over the recent police shootings is warranted, Dames said, “We have to constantly be looking at ways to improve, way to improve transparency, ways to ensure that the public understands exactly what is taking place and how it’s taking place.
“We’re all stewards of the public, and we take into consideration every comment that is made and look for areas whereby we can improve.
“So, it would not be fair for me stand up here and say we have a perfect system. We have to always look at how we can improve the way we conduct our business.”
Asked about the status of body cameras for police officers, Dames said, “You know that we would have been running some testings on body cams over the last few months.
“We have budgeted for body cams in the upcoming fiscal period, and it is expected that it would be introduced at that time.”
He added that he will speak more on that issue during his 2018/2019 budget contribution.
Education: Vrije Universiteit Brussel (University of Brussels), MA in Mass Communications