Answers needed in cop gun case

| 08/01/2015 | 22 Comments

(CNS): Government needs to offer an explanation to the public over why a police officer who carried a firearm through airport security was not arrested and treated as any other person would have been. MLA Ezzard Miller has said that the authorities need to answer questions over why Detective Inspector Lauriston Burton was given special treatment, having turned up at Owen Roberts International Airport with a gun in his hand luggage which he claimed to have forgotten about.

The independent member for North Side said it was unacceptable for the officer to have forgotten the fact he was a carrying a weapon as well as ammunition, and given such absentmindedness he could no longer be allowed to keep a gun. But, Miller said, what was even worse was the fact that the officer was not treated to the same lawful procedures that a civilian would have been. Emphasising that no one is above the law, especially when it comes to dangerous weapons, the politician warned that there cannot be one rule for the police and another for the rest of us.

Miller noted that a number of tourists from the US with firearms licences had faced the consequences recently for their forgetfulness over ammunition, so for a member of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS) to be given a pass for having his gun as well as the bullets at the airport could not be justified.

“The public deserves an explanation on why he has not been charged,” Miller said.

The MLA said that it did nothing at all to help improve public opinion of police management at a time when a number of questions were being raised about how the RCIPS was being run. “This kind of thing gives me no confidence at all that there is any sign of improvement in the management of the police service,” he added.

Miller queried how it was possible that such a set of circumstances arose and why, in accordance with gun licence requirements, the officer’s weapon was not stored in a locked safe and why he would need to move it to a friend’s house. And even if this was an “innocent mistake”, the police officer should have been subjected to the same judicial process that any other licensed firearms holder here would have faced had they had made a similar error, Miller said.

DI Burton was reportedly detained at Owen Roberts International Airport back in October when his licensed firearm was found in his carry-on luggage after it was X-rayed. The gun was seized by customs, but Marlon Bodden, who heads up the customs enforcement arm, confirmed that a decision was made not to arrest Burton but to allow him to continue his journey and for the RCIPS to deal with the issue administratively.

The police confirmed last week that Burton was not placed on required leave regarding the matter, though his licence had been suspended. The police also stated that it was still investigating the matter some three months after the fact.

Related article

Cop’s gun seized at airport

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Comments (22)

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  1. Missick says:

    I understand that Police called for an investigation immediately but the Customs Deputy sat on it! why is that?

  2. marcellus says:

    That’s the best you’ve got, he tried to ‘smuggle’ out his gun by running it through an xray machine. A gun with registration details on file with the Feds (to export from the US) and on file with Cayman, able to be traced at every oportunity. He would have had more luck putting it in his checked bag in pieces, rather than in his carry-on which is xrayed 100% all of the time, But hey, if tin foil is your thing keep it up.

  3. Napoleon Dynamite says:

    Unnah try hush nah Nuttin is going to happen but a promotion for all those concerned! dat how tings run round ya? Criminals in government always make to the top.

  4. says:

    Police officers are not above the law. Of all people, they should know better.

  5. Name says:

    Miller is usually a stickler for detail, here he’s glossing over some of the important points. This guy has a permit for a gun and ammo in Cayman, visitors don’t, vistors have broken the law by importing the gun/ammo into Cayman, this guy hasn’t, vistors break the law by having the gun/ammo in Cayman, no so for this guy. So he was guilty of trying to take a banned item through airport security, for which he appears to have provided a believable excuse, customs have also dealt with it in a similiar manner to how the TSA does, confiscate the ‘legal’ weapon and allow them on the way. If it was an illegal weapon, as is the case of visitors or people without a permit, then arrest them. Additionally I’m not 100% sure what he would be arrested for, airport security has a list of banned items ranging from guns to water, the difference is obvious, but is the crime the same as forgetting about the bottle of water in your bag, and if not, why not? Is there a seperate list of arrestable items or does the offence settle on intent?

    • DriftPat says:

      Maybe you need to see where the good inspector is from to find your answer?

      • guest says:

        Still not getting an answer of why he would want to smuggle a legal gun, anywhere, and for what purpose. I prefer to believe he was an idiot.

    • caimanincayman says:

      You are right, he does have a license for the gun, but the minute he tried to leave the country with his “privately owned gun” he broke the law, and when he was given the permit he was specifically told that. Cherry on top? he forgot about it!!! really? you do not place a gun in a carry on by mistake.

    • Guest says:

      If u believe that this officer “forgot” to drop off the gun, then I have a bridge to sell you. It runs from Rum Point to Governor’s Harbour. just built. In mint condition.

      • guest says:

        I am still confused, you are saying his intentions were to try and smuggle a gun out of Cayman? A gun that was legally imported and paid for. Now that doesn’t make any sense, and please don’t try an resell that bridge you bought.

        • ROD says:

          Crimes in a different country could been the reason for trying to remove the gun from Cayman. Just open your eye’s.

  6. Durrrr says:

    Typical nonsense from Hazzard. The difference is that the tourists are not licenced to have guns in Cayman. If the officer had made it to the US or wherever with the gun, then I’m sure he would face the consequences of having an unlicenced gun in that jurisdiction.

    • me says:

      At a minimum “forgetting” he had a gun in the bag is extremely careless storage of a firearm. Someone that careless should at a minimum have his gun license revoked.

  7. Guest says:

    ” the politician warned that there cannot be one rule for the police and another for the rest of us” but yet the cell phone driving law specifically bans all drivers except police so the gov’t is already saying some times they are above the law.

  8. Kaikomment says:

    Doesn’t bother me. All the police should have guns all the time.

  9. Guest says:

    Ezzard seriously needs to find something to do instead of this trivial crap. Maybe the reason is the same reason as to why some police officers are allowed to carry a gun on the street, into stores, in a bank etc.. and the general public cannot…..

    • Diogenes says:

      Except those would be firearms issued to the officer as part of their job. This is a private firearm and his carrying it had nothing to do with his job. And even if it had been an issued firearm, he would not be allowed to carry it unto an aircraft unless he was a certified air marshal. No, Ezzard is absolutely right. This is a police officer apparently breaking the law, whilst off duty, but treated completely differently from a member of the public for no obvious explanation, with the obvious inference he has been allowed to skate on the basis he is a police officer. The implications are extremely worrying – not trivial crap at all.

      • Guest says:

        Absolutely, Diogenes. You have hit it on the head. Some of the responders are not thinking clearly or are biased for one reason or the other. Carrying a gun on board a flight is a violation of law on many fronts and an awful security risk. I don’t want anyone carrying a gun on a flight except an Air Marshal. It is crazy that some seem to think this is ok because he is a police officer. He should have had the book thrown at him. And further I do not believe his story at all.

        And I go a step further and assert that Marlon Bodden’s needs to be relieved of his responsibility if his decision making is so tainted.

        • Kaikomment says:

          I hear you but still think it is trivial.

          • Guest says:

            If he had cleared customs here and was detected on the other end of his journey, they would not have considered it trivial. A gun in carry on is viewed as an extreme security risk anywhere else.

            We have had cases of ammunition coming in in carry on, but I don’t recall a gun. Giving today’s terrorism threats, I just cannot conceive of a gun in a carry on being trivial.

            In what world do u live?

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