Commissioner of Police, Michael Charles, says that like his predecessor, Keith Miller, he would have rehired the three cops who a court convicted of assault in relation to the beating of a 15-year-old boy, who went into a coma for one week after the beating.
Charles told journalists in an interview on Tuesday that the three detectives are hard-working officers but erred when, on Nov. 18, 2008, they assaulted then 15-year-old Jemark Jackson.
On Feb. 2, 2010, the court convicted Corporal Kasanki Quow and Constables Hadley Ballantyne and Osrick James of assault, but they returned to duty on April 20 2011, when Miller was commissioner of police.
“If I was the Commissioner of Police [then], I would have done exactly what Mr. Miller did. That’s the power of the Commissioner and if I was Mr. Miller at the time, I would have done exactly what Mr. Miller did,” Charles told journalists.
“Based on what he (Miller) stated, the officers are hardworking officers, they erred on that instance and in his view, putting them out of the Police Force was too harsh a punishment for their offence,” Charles said.
During Miller’s tenure, several police officers were charged with criminal offences, while another, suspected of infecting his daughter with a sexually transmitted disease, fled the country while a police investigation was underway.
Miller also dismissed several officers, some of whom successfully appealed his decision.
Charles, who was confirmed as police chief on Jan. 15, said he will be strict but fair with officers who run break the law.
Asked what he will do to reduce the incidences of members of the Force running afoul of the law, Charles said:
“It’s what I have been always saying: If a policeman commits himself, the matter will be properly investigated and he will be dealt with, whether internally or taken before the court. We will not be tolerating any misconduct by police officers.”
Charles said that under his leadership, some officers suspended or dismissed by Miller have been reinstated.
He said that so far four constables have been reinstated, after a discussion with assistant commissioners of police and taking into account the advice of the Attorney General.
One officer was charged with rape, the matter was taken to court, but the charge was dismissed and he was “out of the system getting half salary for up to two years,” Charles said.
“We had to bring closure to it; so, with that he’s back,” he further said.
Charles said that two other officer were allegedly involved in the disappearance of funds from a police station.
They were taken to the court and that matter was also dismissed and they were also brought back into the Police Force.
Another constable was suspended for three months then discharged. “The commissioners sat and we thought that the punishment was too harsh for his offence. So we reconsidered that and he is back in the force,” Charles said.
“There are a lot of other officers, but they appealed and we have to wait until the appeals are heard,” the Commissioner of Police said.