Editorial

Editorial

Everyone who watched that viral video of the police actions in San Pedro last Saturday night came away with the same impression : – that our policemen are poorly trained and have a morbid propensity for hurting civilians.
Once the police have a prisoner in handcuffs,that prisoner is already sufficiently subdued. They don’t need to insist that the person lie prostrate on the ground. On the contrary, the universal custom is for the police to help the detained person up to a sitting position and talking to them in a calm voice. Victims in fear of being beaten seldom remain calm in the face of threatened violence.
Secondly, no well trained police officer will discharge his gun by shooting into the pavement. Such a rash action is fraught with danger, as we have seen. Two persons were hurt in that rampage and one could suffer a permanent eye mpairment.
The people who witnessed this unnecessary piece of police brutality against a defenceless woman were visibly moved, and quite rightly tried to intervene in a non-violent way. It was the barbarous attitude of the police which caused goodwill to turn to resentment.
San Pedro is known as a friendly town where tourists can party for as long as they like on a week-end. Although it was four o’clock in the morning, there were still people milling around, and fortunately, some of them had cellphone cameras with which to record the events for posterity.
We don’t have to guess at the facts, and we don’t have to take the word of the police, because the video record is there for all to see.
The backlash emerging from this incident is going to undo all the good work the police have been doing to build friendship and confidence among the populace.
People will say: If they can do all that in public, what might they not do in private!
The Police High Command speaks loftily about “zero tolerance” to police abuse, but when they have a chance to enforce “zero tolerance” they fail the test.
People are not satisfied with the charge of “wounding” pressed against the two police constables. They should have been charged with dangerous endangerment to the public in discharging their weapons in such an indiscriminate way and unnecessary cruelty to the woman in distress.
When the police High Command misses an opportunity like this to show itself impartial and even-handed it takes a long time for people to regain confidence in the police.

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