Letters to the Editor

Spalding incident could have got more serious

Friday, February 08, 2019

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Dear Editor,

As with the case of many other circumstances surrounding alleged police brutality, the February 5, 2019 shooting of the bus operator in Spalding, Manchester, has gained much attention and divergent views have been expressed.

However, thanks to a video that was circulated on social media, one can attempt to give an objective viewpoint on the matter.

While many are quick to condemn the reaction of the police, especially the one who did the shooting, I would like to commend him and his colleagues for the level of professionalism displayed in handling the whole situation. In a time when The Jamaica Constabulary Force is trying to improve its image, these officers demonstrated class and decorum.

The incident is just one of several examples of the high level of disrespect that police officers have to endure from civilians on a daily basis. And often it goes beyond verbal abuse to include physical abuse.

While it is difficult to say what happened even up to five minutes before the start of the video recording, it is clear that the officer(s) on duty decided to seize the Coaster as a wrecker was on site. Reports later confirmed that the bus was in excess of its legal passenger capacity. The man in blue in the situation might have thought he needed to 'prove a point', especially as he was getting support from the thick crowd that was on the scene.

I asked myself what exactly he and the crowd expected the policeman to do after? Should the police have remained passive and thought about the consequences that might arrive from the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) or whichever other grouping if they retaliated? The police acted in self-defence.

Truthfully, things could have got more serious. The officer in question could have been disarmed by any random individual in that crowd and we would then hear that the police officer was irresponsible.

If we did not have advanced technology now we would have heard many fabricated stories on how the police officer was at fault.

The unfortunate outcome is that the driver had to learn a painful lesson; fortunately, he is still alive.

Also, the police force is now short on one of its primary resources as their service vehicle was stoned and damaged.

This incident, again, shows us the level of lawlessness that is commonplace in our country. It is, however, imperative that both civilians and the police force work collaboratively to improve Jamaica's development.

Clayon Warner


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