Though commending local police officers for enforcing the ongoing curfew, Youth Affairs Minister Dr Natalio Wheatley said using a taser on vulnerable members of society who are found in breach of the lockdown cannot be ignored.
The minister said he has seen video footage of two separate incidents — now circulating on social media — in which law enforcers used a taser gun on persons who either had a mental illness or were experiencing serious hardships.
“I don’t think it is something that we can just look over,” Dr Wheatley said during the House of Assembly on Friday.
“I certainly don’t condone anybody who is rude to the police or exhibits violence to the police. But, I think I have seen enough in these videos to say that there has to be a much stronger connection between the police and social services in making sure that we use that discretion with persons who are particularly vulnerable and who exhibits mental illness,” he added.
Some people can’t survive home
Dr Wheatley made it clear that his remarks are not intended to ‘be hard’ or unfair to the members of the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force.
He sought to explain that the territory has individuals who, despite the current state of affairs, are unable to remain home.
“There are some persons who really cannot survive at home because the situation at home is not as normal as other persons home. And we have to be sensitive to that. There are some persons who really need help more than being tazed or anything like that,” he reasoned.
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