Events Subsequent to November 18, 1973
Paragraph 200. - Consideration of the conduct of the police - Further comment re: Dr. Alfred Fitzgerald Brathwaite's report
200. We have already referred to the evidence of this witness [Dr. Brathwaite], but it is desirable to say that we did so primarily to quell any speculation about the wounds which later appeared on the body of Rupert Bishop and to dispel rumour.
We cannot, however, avoid commenting trenchantly on the facts (a) that Mr. Bishop died between 1-2 p.m. on Monday, January 21; (b) that the autopsy was performed at 4:15 p.m. on the same day; (c) that the post-mortem report was written on Tuesday, January 22, 1974; (d) that Dr. Brathwaite was first asked by the Police Department for his report on May 9, 1974 - i.e. on the morning of the day he was requested to testify before the Commission - more than 3 months after the riot.
When those facts are examined with other circumstances which disclose acts of omission and commission by members of the Police Force, the Commission gathered a sense of appalling indifference among members of the Police Force about the investigation of criminal conduct by a large number of persons including physical injuries to Garfield Brathwaite by gun fire for which a policeman was responsible and also the death of Rupert Bishop by violence.
There was no evidence to suggest that the attitude of members of the Police Force on Monday, January 21, 1974, was the result of superior orders. And for us to believe this, the evidence would have had to be unequivocal and beyond controversy. Consequently, it must be attributable to other causes.
Looking at their collective performance, there was evidence of gross inefficiency, partisanship, and worse; the enormity of their disregard for the protection of private property was greatly outstripped by their callousness with regard to the protection of human life and the preservation of law and order.
Asst. Supt. Francis personally saved Alister Hughes from a menacing attack. Inspector Raymond aided Rupert Bishop by helping him to a jeep which took him to hospital; Police Constable Myers helped Garfield Brathwaite and others. These acts of humanity redound to their credit.
In the overall picture of the riotous exercises started by the police aides and subsequently involving some of the demonstrators, their was conduct which far from being considered heroic, fell far short of the type of resolute and spirited action expected of members of a disciplined force whose responsibilities deny them any manifest indulgence in partisanship and whose paramount concern must be justice, the preservation of the law and the maintenance of order.