Apology or not�probe that video.Police Welfare and Social Association president Michael Seales is maintaining calls for police probe of a racially charged social media video done by a man who claimed to be cousin of shooting victim Adelle Gilbert–though he has now apologised for it.
The video, which went "viral" over the weekend, shows a man alleged to be one Dennis Gilbert who claimed to be deceased Gilbert's relative.It carried vitriolic, racially charged allegations against some "Indian" police and Hindus and included certain threats.
By 3 pm yesterday–following wide circulation–the man posted another video apologising to police for his statements in the first video.However, Seales held his call for a probe.
Adele Gilbert, of Embacadere, was shot last week Thursday after being chased by police at Carlton Lane, San Fernando. Police said Gilbert was wanted for crimes ranging from murder to drug trafficking.
Acting Commissioner of Police Harold Phillips subsequently ordered a probe into the shooting. The Police Complaints Authority is also conducting an independent investigation.
Soon after the video emerged, in which the man claiming to be Gilbert's relative, threatened "all hell" would come down on officers in Gilbert's death. He offered a sum of money for information on the issue. He also made allegations about other police, including of a racial tone, about some Hindus wearing the "pretty coloured bands on their hands (sic)."
In his subsequent apology video, the man said he'd made a "bad mistake" and wasn't any killer. He said he'd talked about offering money for information since he was upset about his relative's death and "wanted justice for his family."
He said he made the video when he'd just awoken and had seen a video of his cousin's body. He apologised to the police adding, his comments about Hindus/Indian officers were his "observation" of "how he saw things," but weren't meant to be "no trigger."
Prior to the apology video, Seales said the association had seen the video and also noted the "thread" of comments from others. Seales said it was imperative a probe be launched into the video.
Saying that persons in Adele Gilbert's issue would have already had concerns for their safety, Seales added, "I hope, in as much as all that's happened, the Commissioner of Police will make arrangements to secure these people."
"We've seen the video and the aspersions cast (in its content) and the association now has to consider how many like-minded people (as the video's author) are looking at the matter of Gilbert's death the same way and may want to bring harm to police. But we must allow the rule of law to prevail."
"On the flip side, are the sentiments a video like this could generate among police. In examining the sensitivities involved in the issue, you have to consider if, in view of this video, an officer might get defensive when citizens are in danger and he/she may think twice about putting his/her life on the line and whether they should respond."
"An officer might say 'they don't care about us, so why we should care about them'. We don't want that to happen. We know there are good police officers. But we must be careful since studies have shown this has already happened overseas."
"We've seen US incidents which lead to the formation of the Black Lives Matter movement. At this point we don't know the merits of the probe into Adele Gilbert's death, but the issue now is to ensure all officers aren't affected by a decision that may not auger well with police."
Seales maintained his call for police probe of the inflammatory video even after the man's apology video appeared yesterday. Seales said, "His apology should be unqualified."
"But he's already sown the seeds of discord–the first video has already gone viral. If he's genuine in his apology, PSWA is willing to provide free services to get him counselling if he's traumatised."
Opposition Senator Wayne Sturge said, "The video warrants a probe by police and the DPP of alleged seditious statements inciting racial hatred and alleged intent to commit a criminal act. Police officers are tasked to obey the law and very often have no discretion in applying such." AG CoP Phillips, National Security Minister Edmund Dillon and PCA head David West were unavailable yesterday for comment.