Officer who unlawfully killed man to remain on active duty
Commissioner of Police Anthony Ferguson yesterday said the officer who the Coroner’s Court found unlawfully killed a man in 2016 will remain on active duty because “there’s nothing that prevents him from not being on active duty”.
Ferguson also dismissed public concern for police officers investigating police-involved killings, asserting that Parliament has the right to change the law if it “so desires”.
On Tuesday, a five-member jury unanimously ruled that 22-year-old Osworth Rolle, who was shot in the head and chest, was unlawfully killed at the hands of officer Kendrick Brown on November 30, 2016.
The officer remained on active duty since the incident.
It is up to the director of public prosecutions to determine whether any criminal charges will flow from the jury’s verdict.
Asked whether there was any concern with regard to the ruling, Ferguson said, “I’ll have to stay in my lane. I think sometimes we tend to jump the gun so quickly when we hear things.
“I’m not inclined to comment on any decision made in another arena, but the police, police officers, will continue to do their jobs and we are mandated by law to protect the Bahamian people; prevention and detection of crime so we will continue to do that.”
At the time of the shooting, police said the death would be investigated by the coroner.
However, during her summation on Tuesday, Coroner Jeanine Weech-Gomez noted that there is no special task force charged with investigating officers in police-involved shooting.
She said, “…It is the police who will investigate the police.”
When asked about the coroner’s comments, Ferguson said, “I have great confidence in the Parliament of our Commonwealth of The Bahamas and if the Parliament so desires something, some change in legislation, they will do so.
“But, until that happens, I think the police ought to be focusing on locking up criminals, locking up criminals and putting them before the court.”
He added: “I think we have to respect the fact that we are a sovereign nation. We have a Parliament who makes laws, we will abide by the laws that [are] made by our Parliament.”
The commissioner said there is “no shortage” of training for police officers and the force intends to continue carrying out the training.