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Tasing incidents: Video clips not enough evidence- CoP

- said public should not draw conclusions from short video clips on social media
The recent and widely shared video clips of two residents on Tortola being tased by police is not enough to conclude that the police officers involved acted unjustifiably, says Commissioner of Police, Mr Michael B. Matthews. Photo: VINO/File
The Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF) has come under fire on social media for tasing a homeless man who was on the ground at the time and did not appear to be of any threat to police. Photo: Team of Reporters
The Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF) has come under fire on social media for tasing a homeless man who was on the ground at the time and did not appear to be of any threat to police. Photo: Team of Reporters
A young man from Long Look, Tortola, had accused officers of the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF) of using a stun gun on him 'for no reason' on Wednesday, April 8, 2020. Photo: VINO/File
A young man from Long Look, Tortola, had accused officers of the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF) of using a stun gun on him 'for no reason' on Wednesday, April 8, 2020. Photo: VINO/File
From left: Yakeem Frett and Matthew W. Hart were tased by police on separate occasions on Tortola and have both been charged with Breach of Curfew. Photo: Team of Reporters
From left: Yakeem Frett and Matthew W. Hart were tased by police on separate occasions on Tortola and have both been charged with Breach of Curfew. Photo: Team of Reporters
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- The recent and widely shared video clips of two residents on Tortola being tased by police is not enough to conclude that the police officers involved acted unjustifiably, says Commissioner of Police, Mr Michael B. Matthews.

Mr Matthews added that if persons are of the opinion the young officers’ actions were unwarranted it would be up to the National Security Council to address.

Governor Augustus J. U. Jaspert and Premier and Minister of Finance Honourable Andrew A. Fahie (R1) are both on the National Security Council.

A young man from Long Look, Tortola, accused officers of the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF) of using a stun gun on him “for no reason” on Wednesday, April 8, 2020, shortly after a short video clip of the tasing incident began making the rounds on social media.

Three days after, another video clip circulated on social media showed a young police officer tasing a homeless man who was on the ground and had not appeared to be posing a threat to police at the time.

Both incidents had infuriated residents who blasted the RVIPF officers of being heartless, unfair and untrained for incidents of that nature.

Officers are 'trained' in Taser use

In a JTV News story aired yesterday April 13, 2020, Mr Matthews said he noted the media running stories in relation to incidents where police have had to resort to the use of tasers to deal with confrontational situations.

“It is clear; however, that the vast majority of arrests in recent weeks have not required this level of force. However, it is always dependent upon the circumstances faced and the risk to the officer or public. This cannot be ascertained after the event from a social media clip!”

Mr Matthews said it is possible there could be a small increase in the use of tasers as officers seek to avoid close contact with persons who are trying to resist or escape arrest and present a threat.

“The officers are equipped and trained in its use and every discharge results in an internal report and supervisory review to satisfy that this level of force was justified. The taser is an authorised and legal piece of protective equipment for the RVIPF.”

Short video clips not sufficient evidence of wrongdoing- CoP

According to Mr Matthews, the two tasing incidents captured on camera and shared on social media only capture the last few seconds of the particular incident, which he claimed some media outlets used as the basis for stories and public assumptions which he said risk misrepresentation of the facts or evidence.

“The police are, and must remain accountable for the use of any force and details, including accurate evidence of circumstances, can be examined at the National Security Council level involving the Governor and the Premier. This is the appropriate way to be held accountable rather than reliance on a short piece of social media to draw conclusions,” Mr Matthews said.

See links to related articles:

46 Responses to “Tasing incidents: Video clips not enough evidence- CoP”

  • overseas (14/04/2020, 08:42) Like (28) Dislike (12) Reply
    In the states that officer would have been put on leave and investigated mike is running a joke force
    • Sharpton (14/04/2020, 09:37) Like (11) Dislike (3) Reply
      No he wouldn't. He would be thanking Jesus that he wasnt shot and killed from a distance of the required 6 ft.
      • Jesse (14/04/2020, 11:31) Like (2) Dislike (12) Reply
        And as he fell from the first bullet coughing and spitting his life ,the cough would be evidence of appropriate deadly response since coughing is solid evidence of Corona.
    • Really (14/04/2020, 10:27) Like (6) Dislike (4) Reply
      This is a great way to kill tourism. Put our police chief on the news saying and show that the BVI is not a save haven anymore more but a bless place in this pandemic to have 3 to 1 case most people following the lock down cause they can afford to and the less man out here be victims of police brutality and cruelty to fullest and for some plan out disrespectful and violating people person space the chief said that the officers probably use the taser to create social distancing really nonsense. In other place yhe police stating in the card and using loudspeakers to communicate only making contact if need be for safety. Prison in some place letting go prisoners and you all trying to lock people up . For what social distancing. We lock down for most but for who all need or want them have pass . But for life source which is food and water and cleanliness like taking our garbage to the road side bin near your house here in the BVI one of the bless places through this pandemic. Our leader see it fit to be posting themself up and down no mask nothing but coming around people cause them special and you common. BVI we Not looking good and a people together this place need help heart and leaders that fair .
      • Beg Pardon (14/04/2020, 13:17) Like (4) Dislike (1) Reply
        A Police Chirf sent on assignment to the VI as a result of uncontollable crime and crime solving, and shown tasing a known local offender in an effort to save lives during the world pandemic will be lauded by tourists ,non tourists and locals alike. As long as a tourist is not hatmed,we good.
  • musa (14/04/2020, 08:46) Like (22) Dislike (24) Reply
    So once again Mr. UK Police chief Mathews have condone police brutalities. SHAMEFUL SHAMEFUL, he is leaving a legacy all right
    • @musa (14/04/2020, 23:53) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
      Guess what, his statement gives these brutal officers who using these tasers for enjoyment and clearly entertainment upper hands that being said let’s expect more of the BS ...
  • tretretrete (14/04/2020, 08:53) Like (7) Dislike (33) Reply
    That's why they are killing our fellow black man in the states and pretended that they don't see what's going. This is police brutality mr commissioner what ever they call you go back and watch the video again. Unfairness
    • Wrong (14/04/2020, 16:11) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
      Recent studies show African Americans kill more African Americans than any other race by an alarming amount
  • eyes (14/04/2020, 09:00) Like (10) Dislike (9) Reply
    We expected to hear nothing less than what you said not surprised. We reap what we sow.
  • rewrsdffds (14/04/2020, 09:12) Like (13) Dislike (4) Reply
    under your command some think police still active duty after looting people's goods some 2 years ago. now should any resident of the non-black society ever get tased the outcome will be different. close contact, after tasing a suspects you still have to into close contact
  • tretretrete (14/04/2020, 09:21) Like (28) Dislike (3) Reply
    Isnt it enough to start an investigation.? Then again these So call mad men who wants to fight you for your own stuff.. Sometimes they deserve what they get..
  • WHAT?! (14/04/2020, 09:29) Like (11) Dislike (17) Reply
    The commisioner retarded or wha? The video is all the evidence. It clearly shows those guy being tased and the police being unreasonable and careless
  • W T F (14/04/2020, 09:57) Like (6) Dislike (6) Reply
    where the district elected members and where are those at large elected members. It is clear that some people in the territory have legitimate concerns with law enforcement in this territory however those we voted into political office are not making any public statement. Are they so scared of the Governor and the police commissioner because when their tour-of-duty come to an end both chaps will simply charter a flight and depart
  • Eagle Eye (14/04/2020, 10:02) Like (11) Dislike (8) Reply
    The police refuses to handcuff Mathew even though he had alot of time to do so. It clearly shows he just wanted to tase alone.
  • Scooter (14/04/2020, 10:03) Like (33) Dislike (4) Reply
    They need to start tasers those rude scooter riders.
  • ... (14/04/2020, 10:21) Like (5) Dislike (6) Reply
    After the 2017 Hurricanes there was no law and order but three years later Mich is still the police boss only because he is W...e
    • @ .... (14/04/2020, 10:45) Like (6) Dislike (1) Reply
      Very true and factual.....
      If BVI People were still in command of the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force lots of us will be calling for their heads on a platter but Mr European running things so it is all well and good: see the chain of command in today's BVI Governor, commissioner and DPP.....the governor questions our political leaders but we dont hear from governor about the police Depatment: the commissioner of police have been given millions of dollars for the police department and to this day the citizens of the territory have no clue how the commissioner disposes of your tax money BUT Hon Fahie have to spell out all expenditure in details to the same governor...
  • Yoruba (14/04/2020, 10:53) Like (8) Dislike (5) Reply
    Taser to your hearts content Chief. Just what we need. Policing for these unlawful lawbreaking ferals moping and groping. Make BVI great again.
    Big mistake was not giving that righteous and untruthful seeker of societal disruption a warranted night in prison and a fine,payable from the tithes of his shepherds when it violated the curfew mandate,setting the tone and example of lawbreaking for the already lost seeds he has watered into weeds and thorns . Demonic beast will be dealt with when karma hits it.
  • look (14/04/2020, 11:23) Like (16) Dislike (2) Reply
    Can you see what happen leading up to the teasing. people are just looking at the teasing and not thinking about what happen before. In the US when a Police officer gives a command, the safest way is to obey and the fight the legality of the command later in court because once you disobey you open up yourself to retribution and the law is no longer on your side. Its only down here people thinks they can disobey the police with impunity and think they have a right to do so.
  • Nothing new (14/04/2020, 11:40) Like (7) Dislike (2) Reply
    There you have it folks. We live in a society where heads of departments act oblivious to evidence then put their own spin on it.
  • Third Eye (14/04/2020, 11:42) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
    Can we look @ what the Police Body Cam pickup ?
    • sorry (14/04/2020, 12:22) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      Dear Third Eye,

      the department had a malfunction with bodycams on that day but if you can find the person that video tape the incident that will be great

      your respectfully
  • my (14/04/2020, 12:14) Like (19) Dislike (1) Reply
    I wander what you people call police brutality no wander so many things going on in this place I know a day will come when you all will need police it will be to leat only in Tortola police have been disrespect and can swear to that a I have to say to those police just keep d faith let God fight for u all respect
  • voiceofreason (14/04/2020, 12:21) Like (13) Dislike (1) Reply
    The Chief is right in that most times you cannot just arrive at a conclusion with abstract evidence. The two clips I really do see excessive force but if he is not happy with that abstract evidence then he should order an investigative report and publicize it. Then again the last investigative report they did not publicize the findings so we can forget that.

    In order for us to trust the Police they must be transparent in their enforcement. Unfortunately the Commissioner's response to these two incidents and his lack of transparency with the Yamarco Hernandez Investigative report does not help. You can produce dozens of clips showing the community spirit of the Police but that work can easily be destroyed by lack of transparency on matters of enforcement.
  • Ask for a friend (14/04/2020, 12:30) Like (2) Dislike (3) Reply
    He came from the uk con the people with his sweet mouth now engaged in a cover up!!!! where is the bloody governor when you need him?
    • Hear Ye (14/04/2020, 13:27) Like (5) Dislike (2) Reply
      He was sent from the UK because local officers and chief could not corral all yo loose animals. We needed backup and reinforcements
      No shame in this place. Hang your heads go raise the contents of your wombs and shut your bocas.
  • bvi (14/04/2020, 12:37) Like (3) Dislike (8) Reply
  • legal team (14/04/2020, 14:28) Like (7) Dislike (5) Reply
    I wish to exercise my freedom of speech on this democratic news site,to say that i agree with the cop 100%..
    In my observational view,the cop is correct..
    You cannot depend on a few seconds of a video clip and conclude a case of excessive force..
    I dont believe that the cop will support any wrongdoing by his officers.
    I see this cop and the dcp as men with high credibility.
    They are both uk citizens with the dcp,also a bvi citien.they mean good for the bvi
    Generally,ppl do not like police and criminals want police to be seen as bad,so when criminals commit their crime,they would hope that the justice system look at the police and not the criminal.
    For those of you, being racist and calling the cop european and uk man,i say to you,no no the dcp is directly associated with bvi by nationality.
    We bvislanders are also uk citizens,with right of abode in the uk and european union countries. The uk has welcome our bvi students to study in the uk..i love my fellow uk citizens cop mathew and the governor..
    The bvi belongs to her majesty the queen.
    The white cop is welcome as our fellow uk citizen to work in the queen's bvi the same way,we bvi ppl go to uk to study and work.
    We bvi citizens like go to other countries but we always cursing ppl who come to the queen's country.
    We the black ppl in bvi are more racist than the white ppl in the uk.
    One love and one together bvi.
  • BS (14/04/2020, 15:13) Like (1) Dislike (3) Reply
    But even tho he said it was a short video so why wait until the individual is in cuffs to tase him these police here playing with ppl
  • Will sir (14/04/2020, 15:31) Like (0) Dislike (2) Reply
    Police come live dog now you till me a man thief a nother one break d curfu a what police do is roung come on people what message are we sending may God help us all
  • Remember (14/04/2020, 16:16) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Poor lice nest used to be sprayed out ....wat better timee for it now............

  • Remember (14/04/2020, 16:19) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    4oo a nice feeling to get them back trust me .....I got me one a long time ago the feel is great wen u read these shit
  • 007 (14/04/2020, 16:21) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    The first case I will need additional information as the video didn’t show enough as the filming angle wasn’t a good one and in my opinion If you are refusing to get in the vehicle and you get tased I got no problem with that. Now when a man on the ground and he far enough away from you that he couldn’t do anything to harm you but you tase him for not being a mannequin, that’s a problem. Cops need to stop defending each other when they are clearly wrong.
  • bvi (14/04/2020, 16:32) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Yeah f.....that 800
  • To my (14/04/2020, 16:41) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    We don't need police wen corona out ....judgment man kind to dam wicked in high places....way there does be for the righteous...grovegoverna figthing his injustice alone...hmmmm I am not begging for prayers nor justice no more I was looking judgment but this plague can work ......u all watch ur deeds
  • legal team (14/04/2020, 16:58) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
    In the BVI, we are so daam-racist without understanding the meaning of black-racism.

    Racism in the BVI began with we the citizens calling our black fellow brothers and sisters I-LAN-MAN..

    In the late 60's it was, and through out 2020 it is, about call immigration for any I-lan-man who mess with a tolian and with so much college and university graduates, now, who learn about apatheid in South-Africa, racism and ethnic hatred continues in the BVI.

    Look how ignorant we are with racism.

    We are calling a citizen of the United Kingdom,[the COP] a foreigner in the BVI?

    The man is in his territory! His Britsh Country. like it or not,accept it or not.

    The BVI is a British Overseas Territory, owned by the UK.

    I will continue to report on the UK show us how IGNORANT we are.

    We do not know our SOVEREIGNTY!


    That UK-law, enacted in may 2002 makes provisions for all BVI citizens, who were citizens before may 2001,to automatically become UK citizens, and thereafter in may 2002 on-wards [one year later] all persons who become citizens of the BVI, can now be registered as UK citizens.

    3 cheers for Mr.Matthews' country,UK:-Haip-haip-haip:Hooray!

    COP Matthews is our fellow UK citizen, working in a UK [BRITISH overseas territory] and doing a very good job for the BVI people; but we bv-islanders with our racist attitude, wants to treat our fellow brother-UK-citizen like a foreigner from the middle east?

    We grow up with and still we are IN IGNORANCE,that we cannot accept,a Whiteman from the UK as our fellow brother,UK citizen, to be our COP.

    Even the Governor, who was appointed by Her Majesty,the Queen,as her representative in HER BVI,we cursing him too,for what? Because he is a whiteman from the UK.We too daaam [RACIST]

    In 2020, the BVI has the highest rate of nationality hatred,and because blogging is something secret,we hide behind a computer,and clearly speaking out what is in our hearts towards persons who do not belong to the Virgin Islands..

    Stick to the topic,and the message brought to us by VINO.

    You should commend vino for taking the topic from the TV show and bringing it to us,so we can blogg freely, "on the topic". Is the officers GUILTY or NOT Guilty.The COP say,the officers are not.

    Forget the white nationality and stop the racism.

    Mr Matthew is a UK citizen in a UK country BVI [BRITISH virgin islands].

    Whose virgin islands our country is?

    Her Majesty's- BRITISH-virgin islands.

    One love and white unity in bvi coming soon in 2021,after Coronavirus (covid-19) DISAPPEARS.

    Stay inside,you CRIMINALS, and you will NOT be TASED by her majesty's police officers!
  • @legal team (14/04/2020, 18:42) Like (2) Dislike (10) Reply
    Go write a book. Find a publisher. let it stay on the bookstore shelf. no one wants your opinion.
    • Racism (14/04/2020, 18:59) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
      racism must stop in the bvi,our children should not learn how to hate bcuz of colour.
  • No (14/04/2020, 19:18) Like (11) Dislike (2) Reply
    Guys Let Police do their job it to protect, try keep off street
  • legal team (14/04/2020, 19:40) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply

    the legal team does not have to write a book.

    Legal Team read the LAWS ,and most people in the BVI are LAWLESS!

    the book is already written.

    the books are:-the UK laws identifying our uk sovereignty and the bvi constitution, telling us who belong to the BVI.

    The UK laws also tells us,the BVI citizens are UK citizens.

    go and read them for yourselves,and stop poisoning the minds of the young bvi students about negative things concerning born-uk-citizens living and working in the BVI as diplomats.

    Most bvi students studied LAW in the UK because,they were able to enter the UK with a UK issued passport.

    Now you tell the UK-born COP,to go back to his country-UK where he come from? Absolute NONESENSE!

    We as BVI citizens,must stop chastising our white uk-born citizens,who are here in bvi on uk business.

    school students do read these bloggs on this popular news site.don't mislead them with IGNORANCE.

    I wont sit back,and allow a few racist bv-islanders to mislead our students about their uk sovereignty.

    We are british overseas territories citizens and UK Citizens as well; therefore,we must welcome our UK-born Governor and UK-born Commissioner of police with open arms as our brothers.

    Because,when we go to UK to study law etc, our fellow UK citizens and UK Universities,would welcome our bvi students into the UK.

    That is the message I want to send across to every BVI/UK Citizen of the BVI.

    Don't be a racist towards our white UK citizens,because,we are all UK citizens of Her Majesty,the QUEEN.

    That is the book, legal team has it and repent from your wicked,racist sins.

    I have never heard the COP or the Governor,say anything bad about the BVI and the BVI people!

    Stop the racism in the BVI.

    That's my moto,to eradicate covid-19 in the BVI.

    One love BVI.
  • legal team (15/04/2020, 08:59) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    We all are enjoying our lockdown,so let's read the news and blogg.
    Wow, look at democracy in progress in the BVI, where persons are allowed to exercise their guaranteed freedom of expression on this democratic news site. This BVI society has changed, because,democracy is alive on vino.
    I was guided by the holy spirit to meditate overnight.The holy spirit guided me to continue blogging on the law,and our true sovereignty,and not on persons.
    While I am reading your bloggs of freedom,and many other UK-born citizens both in uk and bvi,are reading the many bloggs,SOME of anger and SOME of hatred toward the COP because he is a whiteman from the UK,and because of your hatred towards police for stopping your CRIMINAL behavior in the BVI, I reflected on the many EX-PA-TRI-ATE [I-LAN-MAN] in the BVI. Is the same way,you treat your black fellow-I-LAN-MAN,for many years!Whenever,you get a sacarstic opportunity to call someone ilanman, or not from HEE-ERE, you would say it.Here in BVI is majesty's place.
    Our DNA in the BVI is to lash-out against any person in authority,especially if that person does not belong to the bvi "BY BIRTH".
    Even though you become naturalized,with belonger status,under the BVI Constitution,we continue to be racist.
    even after hurricane Irma,and Maria,we continue to be racist.
    I bring you greetings from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland,where both the Governor and the COP Mathews are citizens,and also,where,we the citizens of the BVI are also citizens,
    Which means, BVI citizens by virtue of the amendment in the UK law of the UK parliament,now have [DUAL] british-citizenship,but here we are today,cursing our fellow UK citizens in the BVI.That's a national shame,to curse your own family.
    The BVI passport,is a [british passport of the virgin islands] and this is what I read in the BVI passport:-
    ["The Governor of the Virgin Islands,requests and requires in the name of Her Majesty,all those whom it may concern to allow the bearer to pass freely and to afford the bearer such assistance and protection as may be necessary"]
    The UK (European Union)passport, is a British passport,from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland,and this is what I read in the Uk-passport,issued to UK citizens and BVI citizens:-
    [" Her BRITANNIC Majesty's Secretary of State,requests and requires in the name of Her Majesty all those whom it may concern to allow the bearer to pass freely without let or hindrance,and to afford the bearer such assistance and protection as may be necessary"] But we BVI citizens,saying to the Queen's UK citizen to go back to the UK?
    Where is our LOYALTY in the BVI, to Her Majesty,the Queen of the United Kingdom?We are misleading our children!
    Again, I will reiterate, that some propagandanists,such as Skelton-Cline,will not go to our schools to educate our upcoming children,about their recent UK Sovereignty,but instead,because 95% of BV-Islanders are not reading the BVI Constitution,and the UK laws,our people remained IGNORANT,to a point,that we don't even know our Fundamental Human Rights and Freedoms,in the BVI constitution:
    And those rights and freedoms are extended to all persons in the BVI including UK-born citizens and EX-PA-TRI-ATES.
    My dear BVI citizens,educate yourselves,and stop discriminating against persons in the BVI,who do not belong to the BVI.
    Because discrimination,is a contravention of a Fundamental right and Freedoms.
    Let us,together with skelton-cline, read the section and subsections in the BVI Constitution Order,2007,entitled "Protection from discrimination"
    [" 1. In this section, the expressions-
    (a) 'discriminatory' means-affording different treatment to different persons on any ground such as, sex, race ,colour ,language ,religion ,political or other opinion ,national ,ethnic or social origin,association with a national minority,family relations,economic status,age,birth,sexual orientation,marital or other status etc"]
    My dear students,who are studying law,and would contact me for discussion,based on the bloggs you read,on this news site,I say to you,students,don't be misled by some IGNORANT citizens,who,all they know,is how to discriminate against residents,who do not belong belong the BVI.
    Blogg on the topic: Don't blogg on Mr.Matthews,because he is a whiteman from the UK.
    Don't be a racist,because racism can lead to radicalization in society.
    One love BVI.
  • Reading between the lines (15/04/2020, 11:08) Like (0) Dislike (3) Reply
    Look at what he says, "it is up to the national security Council to address it". Why you not addressing it Premier? What do they have on you? Sounds like Matthews got something on you. It's as if he knows you can't tell him nothing. He say the video doesn't show enough evidence of unreasonable force? That's like saying that the naked emperor has on beautiful clothes. I think that is a decision for a judge or independent tribunal to make... It certainly does not show evidence of reasonable force either. It raises a question and any good judge will say that there is a case to answer. Spiritual wickedness in high places...more to come because God is all knowing and all seeing and truth always comes to light. Better address this from now.
  • bvi/uk citizen? (15/04/2020, 14:42) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    so all the time tola ppl dare lambasing jaspert and Mathew,dem all is uk citizens together in we ppl don't kno our mother country is England,from since when England was in the west indies,england still control bvi and give ah you England citizenship, so bvi ppl should not be saying bvi is me country, then, bcuz uk and bvi is one nation with one queen as the head.never too late to learn.the governor, the chief of police and all dem bvi ppl is uk citizens together.
    ah ketch ah you,come deny dat.

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