February 5, 2010

Commissioner: Officers to remain on suspension

Commissioner of Police Keith Miller has given the assurance that the business of the state will continue, and it will continue in a professional manner.{{more}}

Miller’s assurance came in the wake of the recent conviction of three police officers for the assault of Jemark Jackson, 16, of New Montrose on November 18, 2008, at police headquarters in Kingstown.

Miller described what transpired as a learning experience and said: “When mistakes are made, we just have to go back to the drawing board and correct them. At no time must we throw our hands in the air.”

The Commissioner said that he intended to have a meeting with the members of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) today, Friday, February 5, in relation to their attitude towards the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

“I have been hearing certain things in the yard after the matter concluded and I am going to tell them at CID that they are not to be disrespectful to the office of the DPP,” Miller said.

“We have to continue to work together. The DPP prosecuted the matter in this case, but come next week, the DPP will be prosecuting matters for the Crown that we investigated and he directed us on.”

Miller, however, declined to comment on the outcome of the case, except to say: “The court spoke.”

Nevertheless, he indicated that the three officers will continue on suspension on half pay until they have exhausted all their appeals. “Their lawyer has informed me he intends to appeal.”

However, once the matter comes to a final conclusion, Miller said, a decision will be taken. “The matter is not closed…. If they lose the appeal, they lose their work,” he said.

When contacted, the DPP Colin Williams confirmed that some police officers were disrespectful to him during and after the trial.

“They have shown their disrespect and disdain, but it doesn’t bother me. They will have to grow up one day,” Williams stated.

He added: “I am not here to please them, but I came here to perform according to my post.”

He said that he would not encourage police officers in their wrong doings and let them bring the force into disrepute. That’s what they are doing, bringing the force into disrepute!”

In May 2009, the DPP advised that charges be brought against four police officers alleged to be involved in the incident. It was not until six weeks later, on July 9, 2009, that the men were charged. Charges against one officer were dropped, following a directive from DPP Williams.

At the time, Commissioner Miller said the charges could not have been made any sooner, given a number of important factors that had to be taken into consideration, including not wanting to dampen the spirit of the policemen going into Operation Vincy Pac and Carnival.

Counsel Arthur Williams represented the three police officers, while Director of Public Prosecution Colin Williams prosecuted the matter.