Top cop’s top regret

In this August 2010 file photo, Commissioner of Police Keith Miller speaks at the funeral of Constable Kingsley “King John” John who died on Aug. 7, 2010 when the bullet from a firearm held by another officer struck him in the chest. The cops, who have just returned from a raid, were inside the Biabou Police Station at the time of the incident. Police initially said that the shooting was an accident but Director of Public Prosecutions Colin Williams ordered that Constable Rohan McDowall, the cop responsible for discharging the firearm, be charged with murder.

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – Commissioner of Police Keith Miller’s number one regret since taking the job six years ago is not his rehiring of the three cops convicted of criminal charges after they beat Jemark Jackson into a one-week coma in 2008.

Jackson was 15 at the time of the assault and doctors say he would have died had he not received medical attention.

But Miller said on radio Wednesday night that he erred in not firing two different cops because of misconduct.

“I made a decision that I think I did the wrong thing. It has to do with two policemen’s conduct. I made the decision not to send them home. I think I erred not to send them home,” Miller said without giving details of the cops’ conduct and when the development occurred.

“I took a number of things into consideration why I did not send them home. But, [in] hindsight, I should have sent them home. I am not seeing a lot of progress in their part to turn around because, even after making that decision, they have not become better policemen,” said Miller, who announced on the programme that he has fired a cop who was driving without a licence an uninsured vehicle that struck and killed Steffan Cruickshank, 14, on Dec. 26.

He, however, noted that the two cops he regretted not firing are not any of the three detectives convicted of criminal offences in the Jemark Jackson case.

Senior Magistrate Donald Browne in February 2010 found detectives, Corporal Kasankie Quow and Constables Osrick James and Hadley Ballantyne, guilty of assaulting Jackson.

The cops could have been jailed for up to five years, but the magistrate ordered them to pay the court EC$1,500 each in one month or spend six months in prison.

Miller later reinstated the convicted detectives to their position.

The police chief, who appeared as a guest of the radio talk show Wednesday night, defended his decision to reinstate the convicted cops.

“Those three men, they were fighters. They are men who would go beyond the call of duty. What happened that night, I believe it happened out of exuberance, in the spirit of wanting to get the job done. They did that prior to that night and they are doing it even more now that they are reinstated,” Miller said of the convicted cops.

“So to me they were hard workers they were conscientious men. They are people who have the police force at heart. They are people who do not believe in having crimes perpetrated; because when a crime is perpetrated, for every crime there is a victim or victims. So we have a responsibility to protect the victims of crimes,” he added.

Police Commissioner Keith Miller on Wednesday confirmed that a cop did not have a drivers licence was driving the vehicle that killed Steffan Cruickshank on Dec. 26. Miller said he has since fired the cops and that investigations into Cruickshank’s death are continuing.

Miller, however, said that there is “a very thin line” and “on the spur of the moment, … you may tip the scale just a little and the court may say you exercised too much force or more force than is necessary. So it’s a judgement call. It’s an instant thing.”

Responding to the programme host’s comment that cops often get complete freedom to act as they wish, Miller said, “I don’t think so.

“I think we are put to the test; we are judged according to the law. We do not always get the benefit of the doubt. In fact, the three policemen in the Jemark Jackson case did not get the benefit of the doubt,” he said.

Cops arrested Jackson and another youth near a high school in Kingstown on Nov. 18, 2008, on reports that the youths had threatened another boy.

Jackson said he was taken to the Central Police Station, where the detectives threatened him with a gun, beat him with a hose, kicked him, and slammed him to the floor.

Dr. Hughes Dougan said that Emergency and Accidents Department record show that doctors were told that Jackson fell from a step and hit his stomach.

James and Ballantyne admitted in court that they lied to their superiors in a November 2008 report.

The magistrate said the case was “very, very sad and serious”, noting the policemen’s predicament and the fact that a 15-year-old was almost killed.

He, however, said the men acted out of “zeal” but cautioned them not to abuse their authority.

“What we have seen here is that he was badly beaten by the police and if [the doctors] had not taken him in hand at the time, he would have died”, the magistrate said.

Meanwhile, Miller also said on Wednesday that since becoming police chief he has not made any statements that he wishes to recant.

“None. I always try to be cautious. Yes, I am not perfect, I make mistakes, but form where I sit here, I cannot recall making a reckless statement that will be detrimental to me,” said Miller, who has been a cop for 33 years.

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15 thoughts on “Top cop’s top regret

  1. I have known and worked with the commissioner at CID for a long time and as those three men, we try to do our best, to satisfied each and everyone who report a crime. Sometimes we as policemen think we had to solve every case. When there are unsolved cases, people will look at the police and say they are not doing there job. I have seen the commissioner work for long hours as a detective and solved so many crime, so if he say he feel for them I understand. My problem here is the involvement of politics in the department. The police force should be free of all politics. The men should not be dressing in party colors at no time. You cannot have good judgement when you deal with people knowing who you are supporting. The Gonsalves case is another thing i think he should have take some time to consider before he made that statement. He have time to make it right and he should do it. Go back and sort it out and do it better.

    Posted by Mat | January 21, 2012, 15:13
  2. Mat, are you a door mat?. Look Miller can say what he likes, but I believe that unless he is directed by Gonsalves to send people home, he will not do so.

    Those three policemen were a travesty of justice, and I believe that some persons conspired to alter the course of justice.

    Sorry but as far as I am concerned any rhetoric from Millers mouth or pen can be discounted as another load of crap.

    Posted by Peter | January 21, 2012, 21:34
  3. Miller is incompetent. A young man was almost beaten to death and he saw no criminal behaviour in that? Is this guy for real? He’s as guilty as those cops and falls into the same criminal banner.
    The magistrate is just as guilty and should be fired. Those cops should be in prison, charged with attempt murder. The message sent to the public is don’t mess with Ralph, the police commissioner, the DPP or any lap-dog magistrate (hired by Ralph).
    What a mess!

    Posted by Vere | January 21, 2012, 22:16
  4. I believed the penalty should be more severe. That judge should have given the police $EC5000 fine to pay in one month or jail/ and then to order an immediate removal from the force. If they were already on suspension with or with out pay until the court hearing results then they were not so supposed to be rehired. Miller excuse is poor,(hard worker or no.t) The boy is a minor child and did not pose any immediate threat to the police. The behavior of the court and the police demonstrated corruption in the land. Why they don’t transfer them to prison officers.
    Your Neut&Indep

    Posted by Danniel8 | January 22, 2012, 10:04
  5. Maybe if the beating was done to miller’s son he would have felt differently about those three punks that call themselves cops.Banana police is the fitted name for cops like miller!

    Posted by Jason | January 22, 2012, 12:38
  6. The prime minister is the puppeteer and the puppets are his minions who must obey. ‘Crime’ has become a political commodity and and the Commissioner is a floor trader for Gonsalves’ ULP Government. All AMORAL.

    Posted by Dr. Bernard Mills | January 22, 2012, 21:07
  7. You dont have nothing to regret about! A man is a man and you made his decisions without talking to the most high. You must feel it. I give you all the blessings.

    Posted by Ray | January 23, 2012, 07:00
  8. Mills, thank goodness that someone of your status has the thing all worked out, thank you.

    What worries me is walking through Kingstown and seeing storm troopers in black uniforms, strutting about. Went in to get car taxed, officer on guard in army jungle fatigues, a paramilitary force as found in African jungles.
    What is wrong with real policmen, that is as long as they are not the convicted criminal class, as we all know exists.

    None of these officers carry numbers or identifying badges, so when they slap you about, they cannot be legaly recognised.

    I am just reading about Hitlers storm troopers, will let you all know some other time.


    Posted by Peter | January 23, 2012, 11:45
    • Peter, Recently a passenger on a cruise liner died on the cruise liner berthed at our port, (the cruise ship berth).
      The relevant authorities were informed. The response was to send a contingent of armed ‘black squad’ and members of the SSU to take positions on the cruise ship wharf. This information was relayed to me by my dear brother Cedric Mills. (I would go to the bank with that). Tell me dear readers, what morons do we have in authority? Please consider an old saying “birds of a feather flock together”. And Peter, (whoever you are) go to the post ‘Social Welfare department being abused’- Minister….. We have been up stihs’ creek without a paddle for quite a long time.

      Posted by Dr. Bernard Mills | January 23, 2012, 14:20
  9. Miller, it is sometimes better to stay slience than to display such blantant hypocracy, evident by the discrepancies in what you say and what you have done.

    Posted by Olbap | January 23, 2012, 11:49
  10. They did it indeed with “exuberance”–it more like with impunity!

    Posted by Renmorbro | January 24, 2012, 06:11
  11. Dr mills I have already told the fellas, time and time again, that the justice system in SVG has taken an absence of leave- vacation with pay. I am still waiting to see the good governance and democracy Gonsalves promised the people.

    Posted by Prof-Dasilva | January 26, 2012, 10:33
  12. Miller I am really sorry for you and specially your parents, SVG history is being written every day, and you feature in it.

    Every word you utter and every action that you take is recorded, I read though it all today and it doesn’t look good.

    Your children and grandchildren will be ashamed to admit being related to you, what a shame to be part of this evil Marxist regime.

    Have you ever looked at the history of the police during the Maurice Bishop Marxist regime, you will be surprised at the similarities.

    Well bye for now, just remember the words of Gonsalves ” I am here to carry on the work of Maurice Bishop”

    Posted by Peter | January 30, 2012, 19:07
  13. Gonsalves, Miller, bad Cops… too many bad things are happening on that small Island. All social and Human Rights Issues have to be rectify. A documentary film group is accumilating reports for their film and are overwhelm on the many human rights issues affecting ST. vincent and the Grenadines.

    There need to be Laws on:

    Police Officers Behaviour, domestic violence (Men hurting women or women hurting men), child abuse, gay rights, etc. Every human being have the right to walk the street and live their life no matter what their choices are – it’s their life.
    Forthermore, Gonsalves, needs to take care of the many issues there and stop telling Canada otherwise, we have done our research.

    Posted by Deann | February 16, 2012, 16:22


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