It was bound to happen sometime. The police have become overbearing. Someone was bound to one day explode and this is exactly what happened, as shown by a video going viral on social media.
A driver of a motor vehicle was stopped by a police officer, believed to be a traffic rank. The driver demanded to know the nature of the offence he committed that justified him being pulled over by the police.
The supposed police officer fumbled for an explanation. He kept insisting on seeing the driver’s licence. The driver however would not yield and insisted on knowing the basis or reason for the stop. The driver, clearly frustrated with the rank’s failure to provide a justifiable reason for the stop, used some ‘colourful adjectives’.
The rank in the meantime, and out of the view of the camera, was videoing the entire affair, supposedly on his cellular phone. It is believed that it is this recording that has gone viral, sparking an interesting debate on social media.
A lot of attention is being focused on the outburst of the driver. But this is clearly a case of someone who is not prepared to tolerate what many drivers on Guyana’s roads endure every day: arbitrary stops without any just cause.
Attention has also been focused on why the driver was stopped in the first place. The driver was in his right to demand an explanation for the stop. The law is quite clear. The police cannot interfere with a citizen’s right to movement unless that person has violated the law or there is just cause to do so.
In 2013, the High Court ruled that the police cannot stop a vehicle unless an offence has been committed or unless there are reasonable grounds (what some people refer to probable cause) or grounds to suspect the commission or intended commission of an offence.
The law does provide for a driver to produce his licence on demand but a condition precedent must exist. A lawful basis for stopping him must exist.
In the video going viral, the driver is demanding to know that lawful basis and the police rank is waffling when it comes to providing an answer. First, he says that he could not have seen the driver clearly.
It is respectfully submitted that for a police to safely flag down and stop a car, he has to at least be about 100 feet away. It is hard to imagine any person seeing another person seated in a moving vehicle clearly from such a distance. But in any event, there has to be some empirical means of determining whether there is clear sight of a driver. And one of the ways of doing this is through a tint meter which the police did not produce in the incident in question.
The police however was asking the driver to wind up his driver’s window, a request which can be construed as a fishing expedition to determine whether a violation of the law could be found.
The police are notorious for stopping people and then making up reasons for the stop. On a daily basis, many persons are subjected to police harassment. Many persons are stopped and routine checks for documents done even though the public was advised that this should not happen.
Women seem to be special target for those unscrupulous traffic ranks. They are pulled over and asked for more than their documents. Passes are made at them. At times, they are subjected to sexual innuendos and soliciting.
Someone needed to speak out against this overbearing conduct by traffic ranks. And someone has finally done so, even though it was done in a highly emotionally charged exchange.
Someone has finally had the gumption to let the police know how he feels and that he will not countenance his rights being violated. It is about time that the police understand that people are fed up and disgusted.
The public do not respect the traffic police. Traffic ranks are the most despised police ranks. They have become nuisances.
The public fears them. The police know this and use it to their advantage. The police have never tried to disabuse the public of the rumours that some traffic ranks have “quotas” which they are required to hand over each day to some senior officers.
Whether rightly or wrongly, someone may have finally done what many people wanted to do but were afraid to do it because of the possible implications.
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