WHEN ORDINARY PEOPLE FEEL THAT THE LAWS ONLY APPLY TO THOSE ON THE LOWEST RUNG OF THE LADDER, HOW DO YOU EXPECT TO GET SUPPORT & CONSENT TO GOVERN?
The Tuesday night arrest of former PNP turned JLP councilor, Kari Douglas, of the Trafalgar Division in the Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation by the police, should not have raised any eyebrows.
You break the law you get arrested you go to court and take your medicine.
If you did not break the law you submit to being arrested you go to court you win you sue the police.
At least that is what civilized societies do, because, no one is above the laws and when you are wrong .…. you are just wrong.
Not so in Jamaica, there is a history of filthy-mouthed people, some in politics and some affiliated with the politicians, some from political families who believe that laws don’t apply to them, and so they can ignore the laws because of who they are or who they know.
A Portmore pastor is facing fines of up to a million dollars (M$1000,000.00) for having a group of worshipers at her house.
Kari Douglas is arrested for (a) allegedly failing to provide proof that she is a councillor, & therefore exempt under the Disaster Risk Management Act& (b) hurling curse words and abusive language at the officers, gets special treatment.
An SSP sent to find out why the arrestee was in fact arrested?
And so it is not surprising that this non-issue arrest for a fly-by-night parish councilor who thinks she is more important than she is, would berate the police when stopped and asked to provide identification to substantiate the claims she made that she was a parish councilor, & therefore exempt under the Disaster Risk Management Act.
According to a text circulating on social media purporting to be from a deputy superintendent of the police, this is what occurred.
At about 9:28 pm, a police traffic stop was initiated, Kari Douglas (address withed) was eventually arrested and charged.
She was stopped along Meadowbrook Avenue and failed to identify herself as a member of the essential service as laid down by the law. She became boisterous and started hurling abusive language stating that the police were idiots and dunce to the annoyance and disturbance of the public. She was bailed at the sum of $20,000 to appear in the HWT RM court on May 6, 2020. Cons. R. Deans is investigating.
At about 10:30 pm SSP Steve McGregor attended this police station stating that he was sent by the Commissioner of Police to intervene in the matter. He questioned the police as to why he was charging the councilor and that was to hurry up and advised her that the entire completion of the CR form was not relevant.[ He went on to ridicule the team and stated that she could call the police anything she wanted even if she wanted to tell them bad words.]
At this juncture, I told the SSP that she was wrong in her behavior and I would not tolerate her brusque behavior especially as a prospective leader in this country. All was expected of her is a little respect and dignity shown to the men and women who put there lives on the line for there country. I told the mayor and deputy mayor who were also present that it doesn’t matter who you are that the law is the law and respect must be shown.
First of all, I must say that I strongly support the sentiment: I told the SSP that she was wrong in her behavior and I would not tolerate her brusque behavior especially as a prospective leader in this country. All was expected of her is a little respect and dignity shown to the men and women who put there lives on the line for there country. I told the mayor and deputy mayor who were also present that it doesn’t matter who you are that the law is the law and respect must be shown.
I find it curious that SSP Steve McGregor was there quite conveniently at the same time as the mayor & deputy mayor. Did they all arrive together? Did they coördinate their arrival to embarrass and intimidate the junior officer who made the arrest?
We have contacted the Police communications network to get their version of events before we published this article, we have not received a response.
In the meantime, we have information that Steve McGregor insisted he was only sent by Antony Anderson (the stand-in for a real commissioner of police) because he was working last night.
We will leave that as it is, for now, trust me I will be doing some real digging to ferret out the facts, to determine whether or not Steve McGregor was sent there to force the release of Kari Douglas. Or to determine whether he was even sent at all?
If the so-called commissioner of police wanted the facts, & if he wanted to use McGregor to gain the minutia surrounding the arrest, all McGregor had to do was to pick up the phone to glean those facts.
The habit of senior officers trying to use their rank to bully younger officers to make arrests go away, is not lost on anyone, certainly not this writer.
I do not know what occurred but I have a hunch that Steve McGregor far overstepped his bounds to impress the little local government politicians and that he fundamentally believed that the police arrested her wrongfully.
These are the words of Steve Mcgregor in response to questions about his involvement.
Quote: (This is the weakness of some of our inexperienced officers, when they are supposedly dissed”, they let emotions dictate actions.“
They could have called control, use the lady ID and ask for guidance if she is, in fact, a councillor, but because she “Diss” the rest is history” .closed quote.
This is the same Steve McGregor Senior Superintendent of Police, who embarrassed the young man for [dissing] the Prime Minister, he has now made a full 180-degree turn and is supporting a little inconsequential law-breaking non-entity who did the very same thing to police officers.
For the edification of the Senior Superintendent and indeed the Jamaican public, even if one is exempt under the Disaster Risk Management Act, it does not give the party carte blanche to be out in public, unless on official business relating to his or her office.
Steve McGregor obviously (a) forgot that he was once a constable. (b) Never had to deal with entitled punks who think that the laws do not apply to them,© That McGregor forgot or does not know that hurling abusive & caluminous language at the police in their view is a breach of the Town & Community Act, and therefore arrestable. (stand corrected on the Act itself. & (d) that as a senior officer he is now the stereotypical personification of the bullying senior officer who automatically defaults to supporting those who abrogate our laws & abuse our officers, rather than stand up for the young officers in the streets carrying the burden of enforcing the laws at the peril of their very lives.
Then they wonder why they get no respect from their juniors and are unable to get maximum performance and participation from them.
See Observer article here: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/Kari_Douglas_charged_with_breaching_COVID-19_
The Jamaica Observer did an extensive article on the arrest, but duplicitously and transparently failed to include the police version of events. Not just that, the JLP-leaning Observer, went overboard to include comprehensively, the story that Kari Douglas told them of her version of events.
And so I want to ask the following questions in this medium.
(1) If Kari Douglas failed to prove that she is a councilor why should she not be arrested?
There was no problem when the young man was sought out and arrested with the very same SSP Steve McGregor standing there crowing that he was arrested while hiding under a bed.
What is the difference between that young man and Kari Douglas?
If Kari Douglas used expletives against the officers, which is an arrestable offense under Jamaican law, why should she be exempt from arrest, particularly when she has a history of abusive, abrasive, and disorderly behavior, and have been previously arrested, but was never held accountable for her actions?
(2) If true, why did the Commissioner of Police send Steve McGregor as alleged, to find out why the councilor was arrested, when a simple phone call to the Area or Divisional officer could have sufficed? Is a parish councilor, member of parliament, minister of government, the prime minister, a high court judge or the Governor-General above the laws?
If so, Jamaicans who are asked to respect the laws must be told that there is a caste system alive and well in JAMAICA, and it should be made abundantly clear as to who exactly is above the laws of the country.
(3) If Kari Douglas was still a member of the PNP would Antony Anderson send Steve McGregor to intervene in the arrest as alleged?
(4) Why is a commissioner of police intervening in an arrest anyway?
There is information in the public space that indicates that Douglas is linked to the Mayor of the council, we are unable to verify those claims & so we will not elaborate on them.
In the meantime, I stand squarely behind the arresting officers, until more facts become available.
It is disgusting to me that police officers past and present would allow their political affiliations to cloud their vision and shape their view of how the laws ought to be applied.
Those of you who do so are despicable, unworthy ever to have donned the uniform of a police officer.
You are a disgrace.
Mike Beckles is a former Jamaican police Detective corporal, businessman, researcher, and blogger.
He is a black achiever honoree, and publisher of the blog chatt-a-box.com.
He’s also a contributor to several websites.
You may subscribe to his blogs free of charge, or subscribe to his Youtube channel @chatt-a-box, for the latest podcast all free to you of course.