LETTER OF THE DAY - Not quite so, Dr Taylor
THE EDITOR, Sir:
Orville Taylor, in his article in The Sunday Gleaner titled 'Out of commission, but Owen us an explanation' (July 13, 2014), stated, "Last year (2013) ... only 20 per cent of all police killings were under questionable circumstances." In doing so, he claimed to be relying on the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM).
He has made two misstatements, and given that they have been made by others, it is right that we set the record straight.
The commission indicated that in July 2013, as at the end of the period of January to July (2013), in 22 per cent of ALL cases closed, charges were recommended. This does not mean that 78 per cent were justified for that period. It only meant that 78 per cent were of a standard not fit for charging. Further, please note that the 22 per cent was of ALL cases, not just fatal shootings.
It is important for Mr Taylor and the public to bear in mind that the commission investigates 24 different categories of abuse. Among the categories are: abuse of office, arson, assault, breach of the INDECOM Act, corruption, death in custody, destruction of property, discharge of firearm, shooting injury, illegal entry, illegal search, misappropriation of property, neglect of duty, perversion of the course of justice, rape, seizure of property, sexual harassment, threat, unduly long detention, unlawful detention, unlawful wounding, unprofessional conduct.
Second, it is important to note that the term 'unsubstantiated' does not automatically mean that the state agent acted properly. Indeed, several factors can render a matter unsubstantiated. The major and most frequent factors include insufficient evidence, poor identification, i.e., meaning complainant was unable to positively identify the concerned officer; and an unwillingness of the complainant and or witnesses to provide written statements.