Men charged following police raids
ROYSTON JONES JR.
Guardian Staff Reporter
Published: May 08, 2013
Just over a dozen of the 56 people arrested during a series of raids on New Providence last Thursday have been charged with a crime, Superintendent Paul Rolle, head of the Central Detective Unit, revealed yesterday.
Rolle said that to date 14 people have been charged with various offenses including, illegal possession of firearms, assault with a deadly weapon, armed robbery, threats of death and causing harm.
He told The Nassau Guardian further charges were possible as several matters are being processed by other police stations.
It was unclear when those 14 people were charged.
The series of raids, which focused mainly on the Pinewood Gardens and Nassau Village area, were conducted two days ahead of alleged gang leader Julian ‘Heads’ Collie’s funeral.
One of the more notable raids was that of Collie’s family’s Price Street home, where police arrested one of his cousins.
Collie, 34, was chased and shot dead by gunmen outside a home in Millars Heights on April 17, police said.
Residents and Collie’s family were livid with police, who were reportedly heavily armed when they entered the homes, calling the arrests unfair and unwarranted.
At one point residents got into a verbal battle with police who eventually drove away after picking up two men on Matthew Street.
Asked to respond to those residents’ outrage, Assistant Commissioner of Police Anthony Ferguson said police want to avoid “cross-talk” with citizens.
“We value them,” he told The Nassau Guardian. “They know that they are our partners and it is my hope that we continue to work together.
“But suffice it to say, in any [area] where you find the police trying to restore law and order you find criticism.”
Deputy Commissioner of Police Quinn McCartney, who was also asked to comment, said the operation in Nassau Village and Pinewood Gardens was part of an ongoing initiative.
“When we have intelligence, when we have information that members of the public are [breaking the law] we will go in and use our authority,” he said.
“I am not going to specifically talk about any turf war, but I know...Pinewood Gardens and Nassau Village have caused us some problems over the years. But we have any number of pockets of such communities in our country, and on this island in particular.”
McCartney said he believes the officers involved in the raids exercised justifiable force according to reports provided to him.
He acknowledged the operation brought discomfort to some residents.
“It is not our intention to abuse people’s rights or to make people uncomfortable unnecessarily, but we have a dangerous job to do,” McCartney said.
“We are confronting any number of criminals, who are out there, armed and dangerous, and who are intent on breaking the law.
“We try to be as respectful as possible, but we also have to protect our officers and make sure that they can exercise their duties without being fearful.”
Though he did not refer to them as gang members, Ferguson said police are concerned with the activity of several people in certain inner-city communities.
According to a well-placed police source, Collie was the suspected leader of the Nassau Village-based Fire and Theft Crew.
Rolle said on Sunday that in spite of Collie’s mother’s denials that he had any gang ties “his own colleagues came out and identified him with a gang”.
Both Ferguson and McCartney said police will intensify their efforts and conduct similar operations in the days to come to crack down on prolific offenders.