Dames concerned about allegations of police brutality

Minister of National Security Marvin Dames said yesterday that he is “very concerned” about allegations of police brutality by two women who claim they were beaten by a police officer during a traffic stop on Exuma over the weekend.

Dames said “no one is above the law”.

Commissioner of Police Anthony Ferguson said a team was sent to the island on Sunday to investigate the matter.

Asked about the issue outside Cabinet, Dames told reporters, “The matter over the weekend is very concerning to me.

“I had the opportunity to speak to the commissioner as well as to see some of the social media postings of that.

“I was assured by the commissioner. The commissioner moved very quickly. A team was dispatched to the island of Exuma and commenced investigations almost immediately. And so you will see very shortly the end results of those investigations.”

Dames has continually said that the government will not cover up for police officers who take the law into their own hands.

“We are not here to cover up for anybody and that will not be accepted, not on this force,” he said.

“Police officers, law enforcement officers, have taken an oath to protect the citizens of this country and those who visit and we expect that they live up to that oath.

“No one is above the law, whether you are in uniform or whether you are in public life. Nobody is above the law. Where it is found out that persons, whether they are law enforcement officers or public officials, are in breach of the law, they will be treated like anyone else and I can assure you of that.”

Dejah Laing, 19, and her cousin, Aaliyah Bain, 20, claim they were leaving the regatta in Rolleville, Exuma, shortly after 3 a.m. on Sunday when they were pulled over by police for a broken headlight.

Over the course of the traffic stop, Laing said an officer pushed her against the car and punched her several times.

Bain claimed she was also punched several times by an officer and told to “shut up” after chastising the officer for beating her relative.

Asked yesterday whether police are trained to use such aggressive tactics, Dames said, “While we do have police officers who are violating their trust with members of the public, I hasten to say that the vast majority of police officers are law abiding citizens and frown upon officers who abuse their authority and will have no problems ensuring that those officers who abuse their authority are held accountable for their actions.”

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Sloan Smith

Sloan covers national news for The Nassau Guardian. Sloan officially joined the news team in September 2016 but interned at The Nassau Guardian while studying journalism at the University of The Bahamas. Education: Vrije Universiteit Brussel (University of Brussels), MA in Mass Communications

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