Police-involved shootings decreased by 62 percent in the first half of the year compared to the same period in 2018, statistics provided by police show.
Between January 1 and June 30, 2019, there were five shootings, compared to 13 during the same period in 2018.
The statistics, which were released yesterday as part of the police’s half-year preliminary crime report for 2019, do not include the two shootings that took place in the last week.
Asked about those most recent incidents, one of which was fatal, Commissioner of Police Anthony Ferguson said the officers’ actions were warranted.
“In the space of 24 hours there were two persons who were shot, one fatally,” he said during a press conference at police headquarters.
“In both incidents, those persons were armed with firearms and confronted the police.”
Ferguson said he sees police shootings as a necessary part of keeping innocent Bahamians safe.
“There were over 40 decent, innocent Bahamians shot and killed,” he said.
“The police-involved shootings that you have seen, you would find in most of those cases there is evidence where persons were in possession of a firearm and confronted the police.
“If you shoot a police officer he will bleed [and] he will die.
“So, if you are out there on the frontline and you are in possession of a firearm and you confront the police, it is very likely that you could be injured, very likely.”
Asked whether officers are trained to shoot to injure or shoot to kill, Ferguson said, “These are live bullets that we fire.
“They’re not rubber bullets and we train daily. We train daily.
“…I think the Bahamian people are asking…[about] the fear.
“You know what it is, the fear of you walking and somebody shooting you? You don’t want that fear, so the police ought to be that buffer to make sure that if [there is] any shooting to do, let them shoot at the police, because the police are trained to take the necessary action to prevent you from being shot.”
According to police, there were 11 fatal police-involved shootings and nine non-fatal police-involved shootings in 2018.
Education: Virginia in Charlottesville, BA in Foreign Affairs and Spanish