Cops Issue Strong Warning to motorists in several stand-offs

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Police Commissioner, Major General Antony Anderson, is warning motorists to desist from obstructing and fighting the police, as lawmen will not yield or relent in their efforts to arrest them for any offense that they commit.

“… I think the message is, if you do that, you will be charged, and you are going to go to jail!” declared Anderson.

The commissioner’s stern warning comes after several videos have emerged on social media showing scuffles between motorists — some of who are public passenger vehicle (PPV) operators — and the police. 

In one of the latest videos, a PPV operator was seen in a stand-off with the police as they sought to arrest him in a bar reportedly in the Corporate Area. The lawmen subsequently used their batons on the man. The incident has triggered mixed views on social media.

Speaking at the Jamaica Constabulary Force’s (JCF’s) monthly police press conference on Tuesday, Anderson said the Police High Command had taken note of the videos, in which their efforts to enforce public order were being disrupted.

“The most recent one (video) didn’t start there. It was a series of actions and a chase that ended up there and the person was arrested and charged,” said Anderson of one of the confrontations between motorists and the police. 

He did not elaborate on that incident or provide specific details. 

But he likened such videos to be “snapshots” that are circulated and only tell “a piece of a story”. 

Added the commissioner: “We saw another video a little while ago with our police officers chasing somebody all through the city until they finally got them to stop. 

“They reversed into the police car, and the person came out filming, suggesting, and saying on camera, that the police are acting improperly. Fortunately, in that case, the police were filming also,” he outlined. 

In light of such incidents, the JCF has added additional body cameras to the clothing of some of its law enforcers. 

“We have also added additional body cams; everybody doesn’t have them yet, but as part of our commitment…, we will have more and more of our officers in them,” Anderson assured, adding that “nothing really protects our officers, in terms of the story, better than them having these body cams.” 

He further reiterated that the filming of these incidents by the offenders will not, in any way, deter the police’s effort to detain them.

“So, although you see a video, don’t believe for a minute that the JCF is going to roll over and our officers are going to accept that when they are arresting somebody (and) if you create enough disturbance, that we are going to stop what we are doing. That is not the case!” Anderson asserted.

Continuing, he said: People need to take note that we will continue to act, we will use the force required to affect the arrest…

“… And I suggest strongly that persons who are in that process, (if) you know you have breached, you know you have done the wrong thing, and when the police are doing their jobs, comply, go to the courts and get your ticket or your summons, and end up in the court, get your lawyer and deal with it that way, as opposed to this idea where you going to fight off the police at each juncture,” he advised. 

Meanwhile, the former army boss had a strong warning for those persons at the scenes who join the “chorus” of trying to assist the person who is being arrested by the police.

“In those cases, we have identified them through… those same videos and have arrested them subsequently, so this narrative that you going to get away with it and fight the police if you chose to, don’t do it!” he urged. 

In the meantime, Anderson stated that persons caught on camera breaching the directives from the State will also be found and prosecuted.

He alluded to the case of bus operator Garth Brown and Glenroy Denton, who was captured in a video breaching the padlock of a floodgate in the Bog Walk Gorge in St Catherine last week.

“We see it (breaking of rules) not just in confrontations with the police, but we saw that with the guys who were — when we had the rains — breaking the lock to go into the gorge.

“Well those people are arrested and charged,” stated the commissioner.

It is reported that the National Works Agency (NWA) ordered the closure of the floodgate in the vicinity of Dam Head on Monday, September 26.

The agency said the gorge was flooded and was not safe to access at the time.

However, CCTV footage showed Denton and Brown trying to access the gate by allegedly breaking the padlock. 

Following a statement by Prime Minister Andrew Holness that the men should be charged, they were arrested and subsequently booked for the relative offenses. 

Denton was charged last Thursday with malicious destruction of government property, while Brown was charged with malicious destruction of government property and unauthorized entry to a restricted area. 

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