Cops not allowed to release videos of operations without permission — commissionerThursday, July 29, 2021
BY JASON CROSS
Police Commissioner Major General Antony Anderson on Wednesday reiterated that the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) can video record some aspects of police operations but warned that cops will face disciplinary action for any unauthorised dissemination of the material.
Anderson made the comments after ordering the Inspectorate of Professional Standards Bureau to investigate the circumstances surrounding the actions of police in St Ann in relation to the arrest of a man who was seen in a video hurling expletive-laden and derogatory insults at the prime minister for tightening curfew hours in order to control spread of the novel coronavirus.
The man, who gave his name as Shaquille Higgins in the video that went viral, was located by the police who said he was arrested in connection to larceny in the parish. However, after being questioned by detectives, Higgins was released from custody Wednesday after being forced, on camera, to apologise to the prime minister.
However, Commissioner Anderson said individuals are to apologise voluntarily and are responsible for circulating the apology themselves, void of the police's participation.
“It is inappropriate to share internal reports, correspondence or images captured on duty without proper authorisation. This practice must cease as it puts the JCF and the public at risk. Persons found in breach will be held accountable,” General Anderson said.
He also said it was worth noting that due to the complexity when resolving matters and the risk associated with the job of policing, it may become necessary to video record aspects of police operations and that due process must be followed to ensure that images are not improperly circulated or used in a manner that runs contrary to obeying the rule of law, showing respect for all and being a force for good.
On Wednesday, attorney Bert Samuels said videotaping people in police custody and releasing the footage for the purpose of embarrassing them “is totally wrong”.
Samuels said that Higgins had the right to refuse the demand to apologise in the absence of his attorney and that not even a judge can order an individual to apologise.
“There is no one who can force you to apologise. You do that of your own free will. The videotaping and publication of a person in custody is totally wrong. The citizen who the police was telling to apologise had the right to say 'I am not saying anything until my lawyer is here to guide me'.
“The police is supposed to uphold the rights of the citizen. Although the man used those words, he had rights that were to be protected by the same police, such as his freedom of expression. You can say things that are wrong. It is that something that they came for they should look about and nothing else,” he said.
Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at https://bit.ly/epaper-login