Cops favoured colleague in domestic violence case

| 03/08/2020 | 76 Comments
Cayman News Service

(CNS): Police officers failed to conduct a “thorough, impartial and timely” investigation of a domestic violence incident, according to a report released by the Office of the Ombudsman, which reviewed the case after learning officers had not followed the RCIPS Domestic Violence Policy. Despite numerous shortcomings in the investigation and the disciplinary action recommended by Ombudsman Sandy Hermiston, all of the officers involved remain in the service.

According to the summary of the case in the Office of the Ombudsman’s annual report, a woman was held hostage in her home by her husband, who was armed and who was, and still is, a serving police officer.

“Our investigation revealed the RCIPS did not follow their policies regarding domestic violence investigations and did not properly involve the Family Support Unit (FSU). The ombudsman recommended the commissioner address the failures identified, including consideration of disciplinary action for officers involved,” the report stated.

As well as urging Police Commissioner Derek Byrne to remind all officers of their oath to serve “without favour or affection, malice or ill will”, the ombudsman directed the RCIPS to ensure the well-being of the wife of the police officer involved and to review his fitness for duty.

But even though the commissioner accepted the recommendations, the officer was found to be fit to resume duties. Byrne used “the incident as a learning opportunity for all officers” and circulated orders about the requirement to treat officers no differently than members of the public.

Hermiston said that many of the complaints about the police that her office dealt with relate to poor communication or people not being updated on the progress of an investigation involving them. But some, like the case above, are much more serious.

The ombudsman’s office dealt with more than 100 complaints about the police in 2019, and in some of the examples included in the report were cases where officers used unnecessary force, tasered people inappropriately or insulted members of the public.

A high profile case in which a pregnant woman was forcibly arrested over an unpaid $500 traffic ticket was one of the cases the ombudsman handled after video of the arrest was circulated on social media.

While the ombudsman found that the arrest warrant was valid, the officers were acting in line with the law and they “used as little force as was required to make the arrest”, she nevertheless questioned the necessity of the arrest, given the very pregnant state of the woman. She pointed out that police officers have discretion and this was not an urgent matter and could have waited.

Other cases involved injustice because of poor investigations where the police dropped the ball on pursuing perpetrators.

But in one egregious case also involving an unnecessary arrest, the officers insulted the sexuality of the alleged suspect, submitted false information to immigration about him and renewed bail 18 times without charge. Describing the case as a dismal investigation, the ombudsman found that the arrest, although lawful, was unwarranted.

The complainant had offered to come to the police station after work, but the investigating officer chose to send three officers to arrest the complainant at his workplace. “The decision to arrest was not rational, proportionate or necessary given the circumstances,” the ombudsman found.

As well as the derogatory comments the officers made about the man’s sexuality, which contravened the RCIPS Code of Ethics and amounted to unprofessional conduct, the investigators also found that the officer was careless, though not malicious, in completing the documentation for the immigration department, which “resulted in substantial harm to the person involved”.

“This lack of conscientiousness and diligence amounted to a neglect of duty,” the ombudsman stated.

She recommended that the commissioner of police consider disciplinary action, compensation for the verified out-of-pocket expenses resulting from the submission of inaccurate information to immigration, and a review of the fraud investigation to ascertain if the 18-month investigative time-frame and 18 bail extensions were appropriate and justified.

The ombudsman stated in the report that the goal of the office was to improve public confidence in the police service through the now external unbiased and impartial process. It has also battled to clear up nearly all of the historic complaints, with just seven remaining.

As well as tackling the actual individual complaints, the office delivered 26 customer service presentations to the RCIPS last year in an effort to reduce the number of complaints being made in the first place. The aim was to highlight the importance of clear and respectful communication when dealing with member of the public.

Related story: Maladministration occupies ombudsman

See the full report in the CNS Library

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Category: Government oversight, Politics

Comments (76)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Ultimately society gets the police service it deserves. If you don’t invest in the right caliber of recruit then how can they perform at the level everyone on here bumping their gums expects? To attract the right people you have to pay them an appropriate wage, give them the training, equipment and conditions to do their job and CIG need to demonstrate real leadership by supporting any tough decisions the CoP may wish to take-i.e. sacking locals if appropriate. There is no easy solution given the sense of entitlement displayed by the local population which manifests itself in low academic achievement-in general, accepting there are many who have climbed above the malaise to realize their potential against the odds. CIG need to get away from promising locals highly paid jobs for little/no effort and prepare them for the real world.
    In the meantime if what it takes to get the police service fit for purpose is more ex-pats then bite the bullet and do so. After all we all need a police service we can be proud of, don’t we?

  2. Anonymous says:

    What do expect from an employment agency that is geared towards third world, uneducated and, ignorant applicants?!

    • Anonymous says:

      That is what you reap when you employ domestic, window cleaners. Nannies, gas attendants, persons of limited background. Worst is yet to come.

      • Anonymous says:

        So a gas attendant suppose to have a Bachelor of Science in Energy Engineering now? Does your nanny have a Masters in Early childhood education? What about your cleaners? Degree in Hospitality? If you want to say something at least say something with sense. The jobs you are referring to do not require advanced qualifications and experience.

      • Anonymous says:

        Stop it with the judgment of people by their previous job. Not everyone has the same opportunities as you.

        I’ve worked in factories on the shop floor with very clever, well rounded people. I’ve also worked in a professional setting where a degree is needed, as well as further qualifications, and met utter morons.

        Nannies and window cleaners are probably harder working and more trustworthy than your arrogant ass.

  3. Anonymous says:

    police will always protect their own fellow cops…. poorly educated ppl who could not get real jobs

    • Conerned Ex says:

      Sorry to say I think Cayman Islands has the WORST Police Service in the world. Consists of low morals, uneducated fools, unprofessionals who could’nt get a cleaning job in another Country. They need to change thheir hiring tactics. As far as I know Police Services over the world hire officers who comes from a good and educational background. Not any street person. Bring back the British Officers. Not looking good Cayman.

  4. Sergeant Slaughter says:

    If we are going to start that one we need to remove Sadist members of parliament who have been known to beat to use sexual violence, torture and mental abuse against their spouses and concubines some of those very special moments are well documented and hush up in the police archives.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Police protect their own. Surely it’s not right but it happens all over the world. It’s allowed to happen and propagate through the acceptance of their higher-ups. No difference in Cayman.

    Sick shit!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Then defund them!

    • Concerned says:

      I am an ex cop. You’re right there are bad apples all over the world but this cop – and I know him – is a disgrace. There is no justifiable reason why he wasn’t arrested and put before the courts. On every level the Commissioner has failed the People of the Cayman Islands in this incident.
      1. The cop should’ve been arrested
      2. The wife safeguarded and supported
      3. The cop sacked for gross misconduct.

      There is a belief in expat circles the Commissioner protects locally born officers no matter what they have done for political reasons. I can live with some of that to ensure the service remains Caymanian BUT there is no excuse for this decision making. It is negligent and beyond reason.

      The Governor should convene a meeting with the Ombudsman and listen to the frustrations due to the ineptitude of the Commissioner. He needs to go and be replaced by someone that honours the rank and holds it impartially without fear or favour.

      • Matches says:

        Dear Poster 9:11am this is in no way jusifying this officer’s irreprehensible actions but what is good of the goose should be good for the gander. i say that to to say this if we are going to remove officials for this type of behavior or for incidents such as this members of the legislature over 56 members of govt and police customs & immigration and prison service for in some instances even worse incidents of violence against women.

        • Anonymous says:

          Or even a disgraceful ex governor from the 80’s , but nothing was done about that as he now enjoys his 5 pensions.

      • Anonymous says:

        Thanks for speaking up.

      • Anonymous says:

        How can anyone downvote this comment???

      • Anonymous says:

        I like that the ex cop posted at 911am. Skills.

  6. SheeptotheSlaughter says:

    A woman must submit to her husband – obviously she wasn’t doing that, otherwise this officer would not have needed to hold her there against her will at gunpoint. Nothing to see here, his actions were likely in line with the teachings of the Good Book.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Derek Chauvin who pressed his knee on George Floyd’s neck drew scrutiny long before.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Nothing will ever ever ever change on this godforsaken rock ..

  9. Anonymous says:

    The Governor is ultimately responsible for good governance and police. On this finding he should be busy posing some questions of his own.

  10. Anonymous says:

    The attitude of police officers to victims of domestic violence in Cayman is disgusting!

    Caribbean officers in particular.

    • Anonymous says:

      The Irish CoP was comfortable not doing anything, thinking it would never come to light, and UK senior deputies didn’t seem to break rank either. It’s becoming clear we need a new CoP.

  11. Anonymous says:

    No one is above the Law. NO ONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It is good to know that no harm came to the victim but what if it did happen. Flowers and deep wishes would be the outpour but that would not resurrect the person.

    This is corruption to the utmost. Remedy this injustice now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!. How can the government expect others to follow/obey our laws when it is quite clear that it is not fair to everyone.

    Set the example. Do not utter do as I say but I will do what I deem best for me.

    This is not good enough.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Why have the cops not opened an investigation into certain cabinet status grants? Could it be that some of them were recipients? Tell us office of the Ombudsman. We are supposed to have confidence, how?

    • Anonymous says:

      From 2003?!? A bit late on that. The list was published and Gazetted 17 years ago.

    • Anonymous says:


      It is fine to be upset with the 2003 process, mourn the status grants, but at some point, it is important to move on.

      How much joy are you robbing yourself of everyday when you are festering over an event (that was out of your control) 17+ years ago?
      When will you be ready to give up all hope of having a better past?

      Today is all we have. Be present.

      • Anonymous says:

        So you are saying the police were given the names of people who were given status despite having almost no connection with Cayman and still have done nothing? Can they not read?

  13. cayman Acrobat says:

    Saw women beat into miscarriage one lady legs ran over by pickup truck one lady shot with a speargun one lady beat with a police baton officers take bribes officer rape females in custody officers transport ganja in police vehicle officers extort monies to get drug shipments through for traffickers officers steal money & jewelry from defendants personal property and illegal gambling dealers destroy evidence and willfully obstruct investigations to protect friends and lodge members. set up other officers destroy their careers and promotion opportunities for being honest and forthright and for doing their duty against UK & their locally connected elites and their offspring saw officers leak and pass sensitive info to their criminal friends and associates who pay them bribes and i could go on. Yet the most terrible and egregious thing i saw was when decent officers who came forward and tried to get justice were destroyed, abandoned, castigated, maligned and even blamed and forced to leave. Then the UK leadership ignore,collude allow it to happen and do absolutely nothing about or cover it up because it was convenient for them.The accomplice to the crime of corruption is frequently our own indifference. Yes and we have way too many indifferent and compromised people at the very top of our government.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Accountability??? What’s that? We hear about it in the Caymans, but we sure don’t see much in our government! Perhaps our leaders should take the time to google it.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Why is this not Corruption?

  16. Anonymous says:

    Disgusting. Fire him and charge him. This is why no one follows the law, the lead by example part doesn’t exist.

  17. Pete says:

    a special word to learn ACCOUNTABILITY. its desperately needed.

    • Anonymous says:

      Accountability??? What’s that? We hear about it in the Caymans, but we sure don’t see much in our government! Perhaps our leaders should take the time to google it.

      • Anonymous says:

        Transparency seems to be getting there because we are now being informed about all the misdeads and then nothing happens….across the board in Cayman.

  18. Anonymous says:

    It is difficult to enforce laws against beating a woman if your boss, your clergyman, and Gov. officials smack women around but… only if they need it. Maybe the offending officer lost a loved one in death so……

  19. Anonymous says:

    It’s up to us to change all of this. Holding our noses, covering our eyes, plugging our ears, and zipping our mouths isn’t going to challenge unacceptable status quo. The ombudsman office’s responsibility as a check against abuse/neglect is one of the most important, yet by design, among smallest budgets and deliberately understaffed.

  20. Ben Bodden says:

    So let me get this right… an armed cop uses violence against his wife and keeps her hostage at gun point and he is allowed to resume his duties and not disciplined…. then an officer uses force to effect an arrest of a criminal and he get disciplined….

    Oh my Lord… what on earth have we come to… what have we come to….

    • Notme says:

      And not only that but he was allowed to return to his firearm duties and still carries a gun today. This same officer has been involved in over a handful of accidents involving cop cars and always protected to have everything swept under the rug. He has staged accident scenes and destroyed evidence, in fact he was fired back in mid 2000’s but taken back on the job some two years later. He is under protection from this commissioner and the whole service knows this.

      • Anonymous says:

        @ 5.52 Sounds VERY much like he has dirt to dish. Always a handy card to have up your sleeve.

      • says:

        The whole service know he is a dangerous loose canon. Not one person can understand how he is allowed to carry on with a gun, even worse promoted. Other than he is Caymanian with a number of protectors. He should never have been allowed back into the police first time, let alone carry on after imprisoning his wife. Now its in the open, what are the authorities going to do about it.

      • Anonymous says:

        You are quite clearly very knowledgeable about the incident as no where does it say they had a gun.
        If what is being said is true it is disgraceful.

        • Bruce Bodden says:

          ‘According to the summary of the case in the Office of the Ombudsman’s annual report, a woman was held hostage in her home by her husband, who was armed and who was, and still is, a serving police officer.’

          So what he armed with… a pencil? I think we can assume an armed officer, he gonna have a gun. This is beyond discrageful… this just cover up and corruption before our very eyes

      • Anonymous says:

        He’s caymanian, he’s entitled to a job in his country regardless of his shady past, lack of professionalism and qualifications. Sounds right to me….

        • Anonymous says:

          11:18 am. It doesn’t matter who he is or where he is from, he should be dealt with according to rules/law. Criminals are imported into the Police Service, so they are turning a blind eye to this incident. Justice for all.

          • Anonymous says:

            Yes, let’s blame the incident on the “imported criminals” and since the CoP turned a blind eye as well is he an “imported criminal”? Corruption, greed and injustice was never a part of cayman, it was imported with all the “imported criminals”. Please can all the expats and status holders leave so that cayman can have back its pristine utopia? Asking on behalf of the true 25th generation caymanians…

        • Anonymous says:

          It is bad enough to have a Caymanian on the job but far worse to recruit criminals from abroad to police us.

        • Anonymous says:

          11:18. Far worse to recruit criminals from abroad to police us.

        • Anonymous says:

          Caymanian is a very loose term nowadays. He wasn’t “Caymanian” a few years ago.

    • Anonymous says:

      5:13pm. We have come to where expats will be doing what they did George Floyd in the US. Wake up Cayman!

      • Anonymous says:

        🤣 I think you’re being a bit too dramatic right now.

        • Anonymous says:

          Nope. I’ve seen Jamaican officers protect Jamaican criminals while manufacturing charges and evidence against Caymanians. I’ve also seen both Jamaican and British officers beat and choke Caymanians to the point of unconsciousness and internal bleeding. The majority of cops here are pigs – regardless of nationality. But when you bring in solely foreigners to police your people, they do not become a protective agency but instead an occupying force. We must stop recruiting in Jamaica immediately (one or the most corrupt police forces in the world with one of the highest rates of extra judicial killongs) and we must also stop recruiting retired UK cops as the top brass. They don’t care any more and are only here for the money and the weather.

  21. Anonymous says:

    I’m appalled at the actions for the offending officer. And while also appalled at the horrible investigation – I am not surprised.

    Again, and again, and again the CIG proves it is not capable of dealing with corruption within its ranks. This goes from the very top elected officials (who WE voted in)to the very bottom.

  22. Anonymous says:

    So sad and angry 😡 reading this 😢

  23. Anonymous says:

    Just the tip of the iceberg!

  24. Anonymous says:

    80 % of womean married to police officers get they asses beat and nothing happens. Its sad. Hope she left by now. If not she getting beat again today.

    • Anonymous says:

      Great made up statistic. I know a few officers here, none of them beat up their partners. So, I guess it’s the ones I don’t know who are doing the beating.

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