Opposition MP urges ‘independent investigation’ into alleged police brutality at Mackenzie Station

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana
Opposition MP Jermaine Figueira

See full statement from Opposition Member of Parliament Jermaine Figueira:

As Linden celebrates its anniversary “Town week” the recent emergence of a viral video depicting the violent treatment of a young, popular businessman by several police officers within the Mackenzie police station compound is not only disturbing but also serves as a stark reminder of the critical issues plaguing law enforcement agencies worldwide. This egregious and unwelcomed display of police brutality not only violates established protocols and standards of conduct but also erodes the fundamental trust between the police and the communities they serve.

In response to this alarming incident, it is imperative for me to advocate for an independent investigation to be conducted, punitive actions to be administered if the policemen are found guilty, and comprehensive measures be instituted to rebuild and reinforce trust between the police and the community.

First and foremost, the actions depicted in the viral video blatantly disregard the principles of law enforcement and the inherent rights of individuals under custody. The undeniable use of excessive force, including kicking, stomping, and cuffing, is not only unjustifiable but also represents a flagrant abuse of power. Such behavior undermines the credibility and legitimacy of the entire police force, tarnishing its reputation and alienating the very communities it is meant to protect and serve. It is in this regard I reiterate the call for an independent investigation to be initiated promptly to uncover the truth behind the incident and hold those responsible fully accountable for their actions.

Moreover, the outcome of the investigation must not be influenced by internal biases or conflicts of interest within the police force. An independent oversight body, comprising impartial experts and if possible, community representatives, should be tasked with conducting a thorough and transparent inquiry into this matter. This external scrutiny is essential to ensure the integrity and credibility of the investigative process, as well as to demonstrate a genuine commitment to upholding justice and accountability.

If the investigation confirms the involvement of police officers in the incident wrong, punitive actions must be swiftly and decisively administered to deter similar misconduct in the future. Disciplinary measures, including suspension, termination, or criminal prosecution, should be pursued to the fullest extent of the law.

All will agree, that accountability is paramount in maintaining public trust and confidence in the police force, and any deviation from this principle must be met with unequivocal condemnation and consequences.

Further, step towards rebuilding trust and fostering positive relationships between the police and the community must be reestablished.

This incident can be a catalysis for the police force on a wider scale to undertake comprehensive reforms and initiatives that should be implemented to address systemic issues within the force and promote greater transparency, accountability, and community engagement.

One crucial aspect of this process is the revision and reinforcement of police standard operating procedures (SOP) to prevent future instances of misconduct and abuse of power. Clearer guidelines and protocols must be established regarding the use of force, the treatment of detainees, and the handling of sensitive situations.

Police should on a regular basis be engaged in training programs and workshops to provide police officers with the opportunity to enhance their awareness of human rights, cultural sensitivity, and conflict resolution techniques.

Furthermore, efforts should be made to strengthen partnerships and collaboration between the police and the community in addressing crime and soliciting information. Community policing initiatives, neighborhood watch programs, and outreach activities can facilitate meaningful dialogue, mutual trust, and cooperation between the police and local residents. By involving the community as active stakeholders in the safety and security of their community, the police can foster a sense of ownership and collective responsibility, thereby enhancing the effectiveness of crime prevention and law enforcement efforts.

As we continue to celebrate our Town week of activities let our engagements be fun in a safer and more harmonious coexistence between the police and the community they serve.