On Friday, November 5, 2021, the Bermuda Police Service confirmed that it was a police officer, who “inappropriately shared a video of the most recent fatal road traffic collision”.
The fact that “the video was being shared widely within the community”, prompted Acting Commissioner of Police, Darrin Simons to say that the officer in question “immediately came forward, took responsibility for his actions and apologised”.
“This avoided what may have been a lengthy investigation into what transpired,” said Mr Simons.
“The matter is now under disciplinary review by the Professional Standards Department to determine the suitable outcome.”
But this is not the first time this has happened and the big question now is will it be the last?
When Shawn Crockwell, a former Minister of Tourism and Transport was found dead in his home in November 2017, word of his death spread like wildfire through the local community.
It was leaked via social media before his family were even told, only this time it was not a police officer.
It was leaked by a Bermuda Fire and Rescue Service (BFRS) employee.
Needless to say, Mr Crockwell’s family demanded answers.
In a letter to the then Commissioner of Police, his sister, Juanae Crockwell, alleged that a police officer shared the news on WhatsApp hours before the family were notified.
Instead, they found out when they saw messages posted in chat groups on social media.
The family also complained to the Bermuda Fire and Rescue Service about a voice note on Mr Crockwell’s death, recorded by a firefighter and posted on WhatsApp.
An investigation was launched by the BFRS but whatever happened to the BFRS employee in question?
Which raises questions about what’s likely to happen with the police officer involved in this latest information leak via social media.
On Friday, November 5, Mr Simons, the Acting Commissioner said: “I am deeply troubled that we have let the community down by this action.”
To the family of the road traffic fatality shown in the graphic video released – that would be an understatement to say the least!
“We exist to make Bermuda Safe and causing distress or harm like this is simply unacceptable,” Mr Simons added.
“I unreservedly apologise to family and friends of the deceased, to the staff at the gas station who may have been scrutinised, and the community as a whole for the impact this has caused. We can and will do better.”
That said – members of the public also have a duty to respect mourning families. But do they? Do they even care?
When they go ‘WhatsApping from camera-snapping pictures and videos on cell phones, do they even think about the impact of what they are recording on the families of the individuals involved?
Does it even matter until it involves someone close to them?
Surely it does not help when we have fire fighters and police officers on the frontline engaging in this sick, twisted, sordid behaviour!
Who sets the example, when the horse has long bolted out of the stable?
How many leaks do we need before we stamp it out? How many gunshot victims have you seen laid out, gunned down, lying dead in their own blood?
This latest leak was not the first and more than likely it will not be the last, which begs the question – what kind of a people are we in today’s ‘real time’ video filming, photo snapping, hooked on selfies society are we?
And is this who we really want to be – really?
Would you feel the same if it was your child filmed dying in the street, breathing his last breath being sent around on social media? How would you feel?
Surely, it’s something to think about before you go dashing for your cell phone to take pictures or record video to hit SEND!
That send button carries real life tragedies and suffering that is NOT entertainment for the families impacted.
And it’s way past time to implement some real life consequences for this sick, twisted, insensitive madness!
Ceola Wilson – Executive Producer, Bermuda Real – Still Keeping It REAL!