[Updated] There was drama outside the Supreme Court today [Nov 1], as prisoners proceeded to rock the prison van and shout after being brought out of Court.
As with most monthly Arraignment Sessions, a number of prisoners charged with various offences including murder, firearm offences, robbery and more were brought to Court. There was a high presence of armed police officers outside the Court, and the prisoners were escorted to and from Court by the police.
The session ended, and the prisoners were brought out. Some of the prisoners were loaded into one of the prison vans, which began visibly moving and rocking and the inmates could be heard shouting and making lots of noise which grew in volume each time the van door was opened.
An armed police officer approached the Bernews representative to question whether we had taken any photos of him [the officer]. We replied no, however the officer demanded our camera and began flicking through all our photos.
As the group of prisoners continued to shout and try and push the door open, the police officer continued to search through all our old photos. The officer finished searching our camera, confirming for himself that we had not taken a single photo of him, and gave the camera back. By that time, the fracas had ended.
It is unclear why the police singled the Bernews representative out, as they did not seize all media cameras, however it is not the first time the police have taken equipment from the media.
Defendants appearing in this morning’s Arraignment Session included David Jahwell Cox and Devon Hewey who are charged with the murder of James Lawes; Julian Washington who is charged with attempted murder; Ezra Williams, Ezra Ararat, and Zharrin Simmons who have been convicted of assault as well as other defendants.
We believe, but have not confirmed, that ZBM may have captured the entire incident with the prisoners on film, so those interested may want to tune into the TV at 7pm tonight.
Update 7.10pm:The police have stated they are looking into this incident, and remain committed to a healthy working relationship with all media.
Police Media Manager Dwayne Caines said: “The Bermuda Police Service is committed to working the media to ensure that they can do their jobs effectively and responsibly.
“This has been evident by a number of key decisions that have been made in the last two years. One being a meeting with all members of the media to ascertain how we can better work together.
“An inquiry into today’s incident is underway and we are committed to a healthy working relationship with all media.”
As readers will note from past footage, Bernews often films when police are present and the actions of this particular officer are unusual in our experience, and not a representation of the standard media/police relationship.
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- Police: 2010 Crime Statistics Report
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- Police: 2011 Second Quarter Crime Statistics
- Police Release 2012 Second Quarter Crime Statistics