Categorized | National News

Police Sued For $2M–Former Cop Cites Wrongful Dismissal, False Imprisonment

A former Grand Bahama police officer, who was stripped of his uniform, convicted of gun and ammunition possession charges, tossed in jail but then later cleared of those charges and freed, has filed a $2 million lawsuit against the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) and the Attorney General’s Office.

Earlier this year the Court of Appeal ruled that there is no evidence that former Police Constable Renardo Bethel was in possession of a gun or found in possession of a gun.

The ruling, which The Bahama Journal has obtained, noted that Bethel, 27, was shown the gun in question, inspected it and gave it back to the person who showed it to him.

The ruling added that when the gun was found in the vehicle, Mr. Bethel was not present.

In 2009, Mr. Bethel, and former Police Corporal Dion Morris, both attached to the Port Lucaya Police Station at the time, were arraigned for possession of a .45 handgun and seven live rounds of ammunition.

They were both fired soon after and for the next three years a lengthy trial dragged out in court.

Both men were convicted and sentenced to two years in prison in May 2012.

But in March 2013 the Court Of Appeal quashed both the conviction and sentences for the officers, citing insufficient evidence.

Mr. Bethel now wants a multi-million dollar payment and his old job back.

Spokesman, for the officer and President of Families for Justice, Rev. Glenroy Bethel said on July 30 Mr. Bethel initiated legal proceedings against the RBPF and the AG’s Office.

“The grounds would be false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, wrongful dismissal and defamation of character,” Rev. Bethel said.

“The Attorney General’s Office had allowed one of the key witnesses to sit in the trial and we have evidence of that and the court documents to prove that and based on that witness testimony they were sent to prison.”

The Families for Justice president is also Mr. Bethel’s father.

Rev. Bethel said he fights for the rights of Grand Bahamians in need every day and seeks to now do the same for his son, whom the courts ruled is owed up to $70,000 in back pay.
The spokesman said it has been five months since Mr. Bethel won the appeal and after many letters to Commissioner of Police Ellison Greenslade and Assistant Commissioner of Police Emerick Seymour in Freeport, Grand Bahama there is still no word as to Mr. Bethel’s career or his financial status.

“He has a family and they are all being affected by this,” he added. He has three young daughters and life has been pretty hard for all of them and so what we have done is to take out a civil lawsuit against the force and the AG’s office.

“The AG’s Office, neither the police department, has defended the action and has not put in a memorandum of appearance nor have they filed any defence against these claims.”

Rev. Bethel said quite frankly, these officers’ constitutional rights have been violated and they now want justice.

“They’ve been cleared and we are satisfied, but again, if we are a country of democracy then someone needs to explain why they were falsely put in prison,” he added.

“That is simply our position with this.”

As for the second officer in this case, Dion Morris, Rev. Bethel said he has not yet mapped out his next move.

Calls to Commissioner Greenslade were not immediately returned.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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