Categorized | National News

Cops Placed On Administrative Leave

Several police officers from the Central Detective Unit (CDU) and the Southern Police Station have been placed on administrative leave pending a probe into two suspects’ deaths while in custody.

National Security Minister Dr. Bernard Nottage made the announcement in the House of Assembly on Wednesday.

However, he did not state how many officers were placed on leave.

On Friday, 33-year-old Matthew Jacob Pratt, who was arrested for questioning in connection to a number of matters, died in police custody at CDU.

A day later, 21-year-old Aaron Rolle died in his cell at the Southern Police Station.

Their deaths have been shrouded in mystery.

The matters have since been transferred to the Coroner’s Court.

The national security minister, who has promised a “transparent” investigation, said the decision to place the officers on leave does not mean they are guilty.

“I add that this is not to suggest any culpability or otherwise. It is simply to ensure that procedures are followed, which will rely on the process and natural justice to everyone involved. We have clear mandates of law which dictate what must happen if any death occurs in The Bahamas,” he told the House.

“These two in custody deaths are being independently investigated and I invite all of us to allow the law to run its natural course.”

Free National Movement (FNM) Chairman Darron Cash recently called for an independent inquiry into the deaths.

He also called for a review of the practices police use when interrogating suspects.

Many have also questioned if the two suspects died at the hands of officers.

But, Dr. Nottage has asked the public not to jump to any conclusions until the investigation is complete.

Long Island MP, Loretta Butler-Turner, who is a mortician by trade, asked if the men’s bodies would be released to their families in an appropriate time.

“Does [the investigation] preclude the bodies of those individuals being released for burial while that is going on? One of the reasons I ask that is because we’ve had incidents in the past where coroner’s inquests have gone on for a long period of time and of course there could not be closure given to the families. So, I want to know if there’s any expediency that is going to be brought in those matters.”

Dr. Nottage later said that’s a question that only Coroner Linda Virgill can answer and said when the bodies are released will depend on when the investigation is completed.
“As the minister responsible for national security, I give my personal assurance to the Bahamian people that your government remains committed to ensuring that the constitutional rights of all its citizens and residents are protected,” Dr. Nottage said.
“I would also wish to personally extend to the families of the deceased young men my sincerest condolences.”

Written by Jones Bahamas

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