Sep 17, 2018 News
– but not sorry for questioning ‘arbitrary authority’
“I am not trying to justify my behaviour. My language was not proper as an officer of the courts nor as a member of the Bar of Guyana. I apologize for my language, but I’m not sorry for questioning arbitrary authority.”
This was the sentiment expressed by Attorney-at-law Ryan Crawford, in an apology via his Facebook account.
It was made in response to his expletive-laced rant after a traffic rank stopped him along the Mahaicony public road.
In his apology, Mr. Crawford stated that it was his frustration that led to the excessive use of expletives to get his point across to the officer for what he alleges is an illegal stop, and that there were things said prior to the filming of the video.
The Attorney’s actions became known when a traffic rank who pulled him over, recorded the exchange and posted it on social media.
The incident has sparked a debate over who was in the right.
Attorney Ralph Ramkarran in his weekly column, stated that a police stop is often followed by a request for a “raise”, a behaviour that despite criticism has never gotten serious attention from the relevant authorities to bring it under control.
Ramkarran also outlined what can be deemed a harrowing experience for any citizen who may find themselves facing demands to go to the police station for a traffic offence.
‘A demand to go to the police station is frightening. It involves hours of sitting on a bench, when eventually you are dealt with, a hefty dose of bail is imposed.”
The police may then invite the person to attend a particular court the following day. The person would attend the court and waste the entire day for his or her name to be called by the magistrate’
However, he also said that while Mr. Crawford’s reaction was understandable, it was not excusable.
The Guyana Bar Association also issued an official statement on the matter. While the Association refrained from commenting on the matter, it saw informed Guyanese of the procedure for being pulled over by the police.
“A motorist can only be stopped by a uniformed police officer for due cause if he has formed the reasonable suspicion in his mind that an offence has been committed. That is, the police officer must have formed a reasonable suspicion in his mind of an offence prior to stopping the motorist. The officer is under a duty to identify himself and inform the motorist of the alleged offence. This is also in keeping with the Police Force’s published guidelines as reported in the Guyana Chronicle Newspaper of January 21, 2016 and other media outlets. A motorist is entitled to know the name, rank and identification number of the police officer and must comply with all lawful directions of the officer, the aforesaid duty being already discharged.”
According to the video, the BMW sedan, driven by Crawford, was pulled over somewhere along the East Coast Demerara roadway.
The lawyer, who had a male passenger seated next to him, demanded to know why he was stopped.
The rank said he could not see the driver properly and therefore stopped the car.
However, this angered the lawyer who insisted that he was behind two trucks and was not buying that explanation.
“What sc#%t you telling me man? What f#%ing nonsence you telling me?”
The tirade continued.
“My name is Ryan f#%ing Crawford. You tell whoever you talking to… attorney-at-%&ing law. You heard me? So #%k you.”
The lawyer said he did nothing wrong and refused to produce his driver’s licence.
“I don’t give a #%k. I did not do anything wrong,” the lawyer responded on a request for his documents.
The lawyer loudly said that there must be reasonable suspicion and probable cause to stop him.
The lawyer also refused to wind up his driver’s side window, demanding that the cop use a “tintometer”.
“Bring your tintometer. Bring your tintometer and check my f#%king glass.”
The upset lawyer challenged the police rank to go and tell each and everyone – the f#%king Commander; the f#%king president and the #%king vice president.
Crawford made it clear that he has a “#%king” right to travel on the road freely without interference, unless he breaks the “#%king” law.
“I did not. You have no right.
He eventually drove away.
Commander of ‘D’ Division, Calvin Brutus, said that he has requested the assistance of the ‘B’ Division, in East Berbice, for a statement to be taken from the lawyer.
The commander said that the file will be sent for advice.
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