Saba community in uproar over off-duty officer drawing service weapon at party

The Saban community is in uproar after an off-duty police officer drew his service weapon and allegedly pointed it at anoth­er man during a party at Ocean Club around 4:00am January 1. There were at least two off-duty officers at the party, according to eyewitness reports. The officers were said to have been drinking. After a civilian party-goer made a comment to one of the officers, the two men began to argue and this was followed by a brief scuf­fle. The party-goer was also said to have been drinking.

The witnesses say the officer then pulled out his service weapon and pointed it at the man, as well as at other guests at the popular res­taurant and night-time bar.

Some bystanders tried to inter­vene and another off-duty officer reportedly struck at least one of them with a baton.

The officer holding the gun con­tinued to walk around the restau­rant with the firearm in his hand. This act was captured on a video taken by a mobile phone, which has been shared widely on local social media.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Caribbean Netherlands Po­lice Force KPCN confirmed that the off-duty officer had drawn his service weapon at the party. However, the statement did not mention a verbal or physical fight, or comment on the officer’s re­ported intoxication.

KPCN did say that an investigation has been launches into the use of the firearm, but added that this was “a stan­dard procedure when a po­lice officer has used a fire­arm and/or has used force.”

The Daily Herald sent an e-mail to Saba Police Chief Wingrove Baker for a comment on the situation. He had not responded to this request as of 9:00pm Wednesday.

The Prosecutor’s Office has also confirmed that an off-duty KPCN officer drew his service weapon and that a Royal Dutch Marechaussee KMar offi­cer had “used force.” 

“It has been decided by the Prosecutor’s Office, un­der the direction of a pub­lic prosecutor, to conduct criminal investigations into the facts that prompted this use of violence by KPCN and KMar employees. These investigations are now being conducted by the Internal Affairs Bureau of KPCN and KMar, respec­tively,” the Prosecutor’s Office said in a statement. “However, before drawing any conclusions about the incident, maximum efforts will first be made to fully gather all the facts.”

This is the second time in two months that a police officer has pulled out a gun in a public setting in Saba. A KPCN officer fired three warning shots into the air during a party to celebrate Saba Day last month as her colleagues were struggling to break up a fight between three men.

These recent shows of force have strained KPCN’s relationship with the Saba community and some resi­dents have questioned what police officers should be al­lowed to do when trying to maintain public safety.

The Daily Herald.

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