Police debunk claims of bias following two viral videos

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SOURCE: Observer Media — “The public is not seeing the full picture,” police spokesman Inspector Frankie Thomas said yesterday regarding two controversial videos posted on social media.

The widely shared videos led to officers being accused of showing bias against locals by wrongfully issuing tickets, while not meting out the same treatment to visitors.

Facebook went into a frenzy on Monday evening after a video posted on the site showed social media personality Ameen Diaz, more popularly known as “J’Truth”, engaging in a heated discourse with police officers while they were on a beach in close proximity to the Hodges Bay Resort.

At the time, the lawmen were preparing to issue Diaz with a ticket for not wearing a mask, despite the fact that other persons on the beach were similarly not masked, as Diaz pointed out.

This prompted many to question the motives of the police as another set of pictures and videos that showed a group of tourists without masks on the beach were being circulated.

While speaking on Observer AM on Wednesday, Inspector Thomas claimed that people are using social media to distribute misinformation and to deceive the public on certain matters.

“What some people are doing is using it to drum up support or for that matter garner attention, so then at the end of the day whatever wrongs they may have committed they are trying to make it look right.

“At the end of the day, we seem to be taking that bait hook, line and sinker, and believe what we see and hear on social media is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, but there are always several sides to every story,” he said.

Inspector Thomas said there were certain aspects of the incident that were not captured on camera.

“When the officer responded to that report, the gentleman in question was not at the time wearing a face mask. However, he thought it necessary and smart enough to replace his face mask and then I believe made that video to at least give the general public the impression that he was there on the beach and then the police without discretion, reason or any form of common sense, ticketed him when that clearly is not the case.”

According to Thomas, reports reached law enforcement officials that the gentleman in question was in fact attempting to access private property. This prompted officers to arrive on the scene.

An investigation into the matter is however underway.

The senior officer also spoke about another video involving a young woman, who claimed she received a ticket from police while she was relaxing on her veranda with relatives.

He clarified that it was in fact the female’s relatives and not her who were ticketed after the said relatives were seen on the public road without masks.

Thomas admitted that there were cases last year where law enforcement officials did in fact err but he said it was “highly unlikely” for these sorts of incidents to still be occurring.

He also denied claims that police were giving special treatment to tourists. According to Thomas, once reports reach the respective police stations about any incident then the police will respond.

Meanwhile Minister of Housing, Lands, and Urban Renewal Maria Bird-Browne reiterated the stance of the government pertaining to private properties blocking access to public beaches.

In a social media post, Browne noted that “all beaches belong to the people and shall remain accessible to them via demarcated public accesses”.

Her comment stemmed from the public outrage following the same J’Truth video showing a gate reportedly being erected by Hodges Bay Resort that blocked access to the beach.

The gate has however since been taken down by the Development Control Authority (DCA). The DCA could not be reached for comment.

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24 COMMENTS

  1. Clarification please:
    If exercising using public roads in open areas,
    If exercising or reading on the beach
    Is mask-wearing mandatory, or should one put on one’s mask if other people approach within 6′ of one?
    I hope the latter, as it is difficult to run, cycle, speedwalk with a mask on all the time and, if no-one is around, mask wearing makes no health-sense.

  2. Don’t you just love Antigua we suffering while the tourist are happy living their best lives that shouldn’t be. I stand with J’Truth 👊🏽 We should have more people like him

  3. So the police is trying to lie to over 2000 people watching the live from beginning to end? Wow, y’all messed up for this and just shows y’all can’t be trusted. Why weren’t the other locals on the beach without face mask wasn’t ticket? He was not the only local on the beach. He clearly stated he’s going to put on his mask as the officers are approaching and seem to want to interact with him. So out of respect for the law, he put his mask on and y’all gonna come with this bullshit? Inspector, you’re trying to deflect from the real issue at hand. Why are tourist aloud to be on the beach after 6pm? There was a big party on the beach the night before. We all watched it live on Instagram on ToddKrim’s page. Why were all those tourist riding horses without masks? Why were they aloud to gather in large numbers on Prickly Pear island but locals can’t. That is the big issue here. Why should I need to have on a mask at the beach? Y’all are wicked and trying to misinform the public on the whole situation. The video evidence is there to support all his claims and I hope he sues for defamation.

  4. Police:Because the tourist test negative so no mask needed…..Suppose he have covid and he sneeze in the water and then the tourist go swim there and catch covid..We can’t have that..So he was rightfully ticketed……

  5. So if he was on private property as you say why not ticket him fo that you ticket him for being on the beach without a mask. Ok you went on and say most ting was not on camera if him going to the bech i dont think he would need to be using his phone at that time he sw the need to use it when the police came along and i did not wrong him we all have our rights to use our phone how we want to cause Government money never pay it police money never buy it. That was just injustice but member God dont sleep.

  6. That officer sounds like a true pol -i trick -tion.
    Evidence shows one thing and the officer saying another thing . Too many lies.
    The officers need to carry out their duties effectively, honestly and not power hungarily* it cause a serious problem when they try to insult the public intelligence. They need to have discretion and stop operating like robots if they continue and the people get enlightened it will be problematic. The members of parliament and the police force is not bigger than the population

  7. But how is it possible to sit on the beach side or on you own veranda with a mask on? How do they expect people to breathe?! This is some real bulshit 🙄 fair is fair I’m not from Antigua but why give people tickets for being in their own privacy? That shit don’t make any sense

  8. If you are on the Beach alone.Why the heck do you need to wear a mask.That is dumb crap.To make it even dumber.If you are sitting on your gallery alone.No one has the right to tell you to put on a mask.As a matter of fact.No Police could enter my property without authorization.To tell me on my private property sitting alone to wear a mask.It would be hell to pay.Some Police like others in positions of leadership,abuse their powers.

  9. Antiguans and Barbudans a fuckery he a chat cause when j truth did live he never turn off his camera yet until they gone way and he still was talking
    All when them did gone some a them police like them a suck off Gaston are some shit but wait sum big soon bruck out inna anu cause Gaston motherscunt a fuck round

  10. So they talked about everything EXCEPT for the fact that they ticket him for not wearing mask and NOT tourists!!!

  11. You can video the police. They are in public and there’s no expectation of privacy when anyone is in public.

    Where are Nigel Christian’s murderers? Why haven’t they been caught? No one seems to be doing anything about finding his murderers now. This stinks of high ranking officials involved.

    Where are Nigel Christian’s murderers? Why haven’t they been caught? No one seems to be doing anything about finding his murderers now. This stinks of high ranking officials involved.

    Where are Nigel Christian’s murderers? Why haven’t they been caught? No one seems to be doing anything about finding his murderers now. This stinks of high ranking officials involved.

  12. It is am embarrassment to the force when one cannot use your discretion, we like to follow America and U.k policies why we don’t follow it with mask wearing.

    You enter a building you wear your mask , you are walking by your self and far from crowds there is no threat to anyone no mask is necessary. Why should one be ticketed foolishly?

    People who are ticketed foolishly need to challenge it in court and stop paying $500 for breathing the natural air.

    Stop giving away your rights!

  13. But still the Government and DCA is doing nothing about PLH blocking beach access at Polmetto Point in Barbuda…

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