Minister of National Security Marvin Dames yesterday blasted Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Leader Philip Brave Davis’ call for an independent company to investigate a police-involved shooting that left three men dead.
“Independent company? Did they do it while they were in office?” Dames asked after the opening of the General Post Office at its new Town Centre Mall location.
“We’re constantly looking at ways to improve this area of policing and we’re committed to that.”
He added, “Brave Davis continues to talk after the fact.
“He was deputy prime minister of the former government and did absolutely nothing. And now he and those of his colleagues have begun to amount an all-out attack on the officers of the Royal Bahamas Police Force, which is disgraceful.”
On May 17, police shot and killed three men in a home off Eastern Road after police said the men opened fire at officers attempting to execute a search warrant. Police said they recovered several firearms and drugs from the home. Four people were later charged in connection with the drugs and firearms found in the home.
Davis said the incident was “tragic” and said it is always worrying to find that the “state is the perpetrator of killings”.
The opposition leader also said it is worrying when there are “competing versions of events in a matter”.
But Dames said people should wait until the matter is investigated and goes to court before making assumptions about what happened.
“I’m concerned when persons, and even so-called political leaders, get in front of the camera or before the press and begin to make allegations and to take sides,” Dames said.
“We’re not in the business of taking sides. Anytime you have a police-involved shooting, that’s a serious matter, and we are not in the business of taking up for anyone.
“We’re on the side of justice. We’re on the side of what is right.
“The police are focused on their investigations and I give you assurances that those investigations will be objective and they will be fair, and they are working as quickly as possible to get the matter before the Coroner’s Court, so that the public will get a chance to hear the evidence.”
Dames said the ministry is working to improve police training and the quality of recruits.
“Certainly, prior to our coming into office, training was something that rarely existed and so this is a clear demonstration that we are very serious about preparing our law enforcement officers, ensuring that they are equipped to handle the challenges out there,” he said.
When he was initially asked about the shooting incident, Dames said on Tuesday that the police officers involved “did what they had to do”.
One of the men killed was Jamal Penn, also known as Tony Smith, an alleged gang leader who had been acquitted of several murder charges in recent years, The Nassau Guardian was told.
Trevor Cooper, who was charged with murder in 2017 but later acquitted, was the second man. Valentino Pratt, who had a history of firearm and drug charges, was the third man reportedly killed by police that Friday morning.