Flashback… A police officer equipped with a body camera administers a breathalyser test during a road exercise in Princes Town back in August 2017. (Image: TONY HOWELL)

The Movement for Social Justice (MSJ) is renewing its call for all police officers to be outfitted with body cameras.

It comes in the wake of a couple of recent police-involved shootings which turned fatal.

In a news release, MSJ chairman Gregory Fernandes calls on Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith to address the issue, to ensure that working class communities—where many police involved shootings take place—can trust the police narrative on such incidents, rather than continuing to view them with suspicion.

The full text of the MSJ’s statement, follows…

COME ON GARY, WHERE ARE THE LONG-PROMISED BODY CAMERAS?

The Movement for Social Justice (MSJ) is very concerned that there continues to be an escalation of police killings in Trinidad and Tobago and that the Commissioner of Police who promised to implement body cameras on Police officers is yet to do so, some 2 years after he made the promise to the country. There continues to be the anguish of citizens who claim that the police are executing persons in their community, whilst the police claim otherwise. The people of Trinidad and Tobago need to know the truth and we just cannot take the police’s statement as fact when we have had many instances in the past when this has not been so. Even the Commissioner admits that there are many rogue elements in the Police service.

These police killings also generally happen in working class communities, are occurring with impunity, and it seems that the Police Complaints Authority is very constrained as an investigate institution as the public rarely hears anything, if at all, about the outcome of these police killings. 

The MSJ have always said there is a section of the population who seem not to matter, who are voiceless, and who face the brunt of the inequities and injustice in the society. Many who should know better do not seem to even want to raise their voices in these circumstances.

The MSJ will always stand with the voiceless in the society. Their lives also matter, and we call on Commissioner Griffith to urgently address this outrageous and vexing situation. Somehow the police can get all the other deadly gear they need to carry out their responsibilities but cannot address the issuance of body cameras to police officers. Ridiculous!

We will continue to press the Commissioner of Police on this matter until it is resolved.