Police officers are trained to respond to situations that may arise during the course of their job and they are expected to stick to their training. That is the conclusion of assistant superintendent of police, Junior Simmons as he spoke at a recent news conference.
“Police officers, we are trained to be professional to deal with members of the public,” ASP Simmons commented.
He was speaking on the issue of officers’ retaliating and going outside their training in certain situations. More specifically, he was responding to two recordings that were making the rounds on social media in November and again around December 6.
One of the recordings showed a police officer kicking and beating a man who was on the ground, while another showed an officer involved in a physical altercation with a female market vendor.
“That was an unfortunate incident,” ASP Simmons said of the altercation that took place on the wharf in Kingstown around December 6 where an officer kicked a civilian multiple times after that civilian had fallen to the ground.
He said the civilian in that case has lodged a complaint and the matter is under investigation.
“…and we will be fair and impartial as possible so that the findings can be submitted to the Commissioner for final adjudication,” ASP Simmons said.
Commissioner of Police (COP), Collin John, also commented on the issue noting that persons with issues can go to the Police Public Relations and Complaints Department which is headed by ASP Simmons, and complaints can also be lodged with the Police Oversight Committee, a civilian body.
In relation to the “kicking” video, the COP said that based on what was seen “that is not something that persons are trained to do and that is not something that we in the police force encourage.”
He said he has known of officers who were charged criminally for incidents of assault and other offences.
“So it is something we would deal with once it comes to our attention,” Commissioner John assured.
The COP also responded to a comment allegedly made by a police officer on Facebook under an article about the shooting of Frenches resident, Diallo Small, 34, and 29-year-old Kyle Ragguette of Long Wall.
The men were shot on Monday, December 12, around 2:00 a.m. while leaving an event at a venue in Lowman’s Bay.
A Facebook user going by the name Steve Dulce and believed to be a police officer commented, “…SVG has some real joker shooters, Stupes”.
Steve Dulce went on to add that, “there are some people I will smile when things like that happen to them and I make no bones about it, this is one occasion. I won’t elaborate because FB might flag me for going against their community standards. Lol.”
Commissioner John said the comment was drawn to his attention and he checked the Facebook page but did not see a photo or anything to connect anyone to the post.
“So I cannot confirm or deny it was from a police officer. The comment however, police or civilian, I don’t think it is the most appropriate comment in that regard,” Commissioner John said.