Police Operating Outside The Law?
The number of suspects shot dead by police this year jumped to six early Sunday when police killed a man after a reported attempted armed robbery near Columbus Primary School’s playing field.
Police said they responded to the armed robbery around 3 a.m. and saw two men walking on Hampton Street armed with a handgun holding a man hostage.
As officers approached the men, one of the suspects raised and pointed a handgun at them, police said.
Police then fatally shot the armed suspect, who died at the scene.
The other suspect fled on foot, police said.
This is the latest in a string of police involved shootings.
One suspect was shot dead by police in March; one in April; one in May; two in June; and one so far in September, according to The Nassau Guardian’s records.
The Guardian reported back in July that police involved shootings were up 37.5 percent for the second quarter of 2012.
Three suspects were shot by police in February; two in March; one in April; three in May; four in June; five in July and two in August.
Superintendent Stephen Dean said in situations like the one yesterday morning, police have to make split second decisions.
“The time you spend to think, it could be your life and that’s how serious it is out there,” he said.
Dean said police are not using excessive force, but using judgment.
In reference to Sunday’s incident, he said it was the second armed robbery for the morning in that area.
Former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham said back in July that police should not be allowed to operate outside the law.
“It cannot be that you shoot two armed robbers or [criminals] one night and you tell me nothing about it,” Ingraham said.
“You have to say ‘I shot them, they’re dead’. You must explain to me and the public. You have a right to shoot when you are threatened. You don’t have a right to ‘willy nilly’ go and shoot somebody.”
Former Minister of National Security Tommy Turnquest said at the time that he was less concerned with the increase in reported police shootings than he was with police fully reporting the circumstances of each incident to the public.
Commissioner of Police Ellison Greenslade has stated that despite a marked increase in police involved shootings, he does not think that there is a problem.
Greenslade told The Nassau Guardian back in July that anyone who points a gun in the direction of a police officer or attempts to take on an officer, will be shot “without hesitation”.
“I am not going to interfere with the discretion of a police officer, who feels that he or she is under threat to respond,” Greenslade said.
“Look at the number of weapons we have taken off the streets to date. If you just juxtapose the number of police-related shootings against that, it is insignificant.
“If you take the shootings in isolation, then you could perceive that [we] have a problem, but I don’t think so.”
He continued, “I marvel at the amount of cases we have where police officers confront armed assailants and no shots are fired. You won’t hear about it because it’s no news story.”
The Nassau Guardian