It is apparent that we want, no we NEED the police to do their jobs, but it is also apparent that the average Bahamian is ambivalent toward the police at best and outright detest them at worst.
Recent incidents involving police shootings reveal the extent to which the average person distrusts the police, their motives and methods.
The Straw Market shooting – People were up in arms. In their eyes the incident was not necessary as the man was walking away and the police officer in question followed him.
Police: Man pulled weapon and the police was in fear of his life
The shooting at Montague – Routine stop of suspicious vehicle, passengers attempted to flee while brandishing a gun. officers fired hitting and killing suspect.
Persons looking on from nearby building again raised a cry that the force was unnecessary and police abused their powers.
Police: Suspect had a weapon and was shot trying to flea police officers.
The Bain Town Shooting – In the latest incident, a routine stop by police after observing a group of men apparently gambling, led to the death of a young man after he was shot in the head. According to residents the shooting was unnecessary, and the young man did not have a weapon.
Police: The young man pulled a gun and shot at police, police returned fire.
The community reacted with anger and a mini riot broke out. See Video of incident HERE captured by a Bain Town Resident.
In all three incidents you will notice that the stories of the public and police accounts differ drastically.
Truthfully, I’m somewhat ambivalent myself when it comes to believing the police. The fact is that the police have created this distrust within the community through slackness, routine abuse of power and outright corruption in some cases.
So now police officers are caught between a rock and a hard place, so to speak;
On the one hand the public is screaming about the high crime rate, demanding that something be done. On the other hand when the police carryout their duties there seems to be a public backlash against them.
It is obvious that the powers that be, namely The Commissioner of Police and The Minister of National Security have a lot work to do to change the perception of Police officers.
However we as a community and a people need to realize that we are the allowing the criminals a free pass, because they are our brothers, sons, uncles, cousins, and neighbors. Until we start to treat them as such crime will continue to escalate in this country.