Tuesday, August 13, 2019
There are times when you wonder about the humanity of some people.
All manner of videos circulate on social media, some grotesque, some helpful as evidence in a crime, but one that has been shared around after an incident last week is particularly disturbing.
A woman put her hand through a glass window, and the shattered glass cut her right arm. She died from her injuries – but rather than rush to her assistance, what happened? Someone took out a phone and recorded her dying moments.
The woman, Zephenia Dean, is seen lying on the ground, screaming in pain as blood pour from her arm. As far as we can see, other than one man telling her to lie still, no one rushes to help her.
Is this what we have come to? When someone is in need, we do not reach out to help them – but whip out a phone and record their distress? For what? For social media likes and shares? Is this our Bahamas?
There is often talk of The Bahamas being a Christian nation, but where is the Christianity in leaving a women to die on the ground while we become nothing more than Whatsapp voyeurs? Are we leaving it to someone else to be the Good Samaritan who will come to someone’s aid? And who do we expect to come to our aid if no one is ready to help?
We agree wholeheartedly with Health Minister Dr Duane Sands when he says: “There is no prettying this up. We have collectively lost our way.”
A cousin of Ms Dean’s also berated the person who made the video, saying on Facebook that “The same one y’all pulled out to record my cousin taking her last breath y’all could have used that same phone to find out how to stop the bleeding!”
Our staff at The Tribune often have to cover scenes of horrific incidents such as murders – but there comes a time to look away, and in the heat of the moment, to help rather than to record. The person who recorded the video should feel ashamed. Those who shared the video should feel ashamed.
This was not recording a crime. This wasn’t a video that could help police catch a culprit. At its best, this was thoughtless. At its worst, it was evil.
We have indeed lost our way if this is acceptable. In our thoughts, and in our actions, we need to do better.
So don’t share videos such as this. Don’t like them. Don’t encourage people to stand by and exploit a horrible situation for their own ends. Let us show we can be better than that.
Two sides of police behavior
We have talked in this column before about police brutality – and two sides of that story were on show yesterday.
First, the good side – the proper conclusion of an investigation into a fatal shooting by a police officer. An inquest into an incident almost ten years ago saw the police officer who shot and killed Lanes Sylvius, who was charging at him with a knife, found that it was a lawful killing. The officer was indeed justified in defending himself. This is how the process is supposed to work – although we would note that ten years is far too long for such an outcome. Both the family of the dead man and the officer involved deserved a resolution to that question long, long ago rather than waiting nearly a decade.
That said, this is how it is supposed to work. Investigations are made, evidence presented and a verdict reached.
We hope then that the second instance, showing off the bad side, is just as thoroughly investigated.
A man accused in Freeport of electricity theft and causing damage to Grand Bahama Power Company property was rushed to hospital with a high blood sugar reading and put on an IV. His lawyer says that at the time, “the police say let him die”.
We want to say such callousness has no place in our police force, that it is a made-up allegation, but too many incidents have taken place for us to be able to brush it off so easily. This should not be the face of our policing, and the lead has to come from the top. The police force leaders need to make clear there is no room for such behaviour. Officers are there to provide justice, not exact revenge. And it should always be remembered that these are suspects, innocent until proven guilty.
The work of a police officer is not easy, but we hope the force’s leaders can ensure it is carried out in a fair way, and not a cruel one.