Independent police complaints commission being mooted – AG

Attorney General Steadroy ‘Cutie’ Benjamin (Social media photo)
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By Latrishka Thomas

The establishment of an independent police complaints commission is under consideration, Attorney General Steadroy ‘Cutie’ Benjamin said in response to calls for the creation of such a body.

On Sunday, attorney Warren Cassell and former police commissioner Vere Browne said impartiality was vital when police investigations are being carried out on other law enforcement officials.

In their opinion, innate biases when handling matters relating to one’s colleague can prevent justice from prevailing.

They posited that the use of an independent body would increase public confidence in matters involving officers who are the subject of an investigation.

Benjamin, who is also the minister of legal affairs, revealed that the idea is being canvassed.

“I have made inquiries into the possibility for the establishment of such a board and I’ve been informed that in fact there is a complaints committee in place. Be that as it may, however, we will look at it again and make certain that we put the proper structure in place,” he told Observer.

Consultations will be conducted on the matter, he said.

“The police administration will advise on how it ought to be done. We will have discussions with the police department and their administration and establish a board…but have it more formalised so that persons can complain and investigations can take place when police officers are involved in alleged transactions,” Benjamin added.

This is one of many discussions sparked by universal issues of police brutality, including the high profile investigation into the death of Falmouth father-of-two Bruce ‘Jungle’ Greenaway who was allegedly beaten and strangled by four law enforcement officers.

Greenaway’s death has caused uproar on social media and has resulted in ‘Justice for Jungle’ protests.

The alleged murderers are Antigua and Barbuda Defence Force soldiers – 25-year-old Shakeil Thomas, Armal Warner and Aliyah Martin, both 20 – and a police officer, Jason Modeste, 44.  

The four were recently remanded to prison pending their committal hearing on September 23.

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