Uniformed Police cannot make random stops – Bar Association

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Attorney Ryan Crawford

The Guyana Bar Association has weighed in on the video making its rounds on social media of Attorney Ryan Crawford’s exchange with a Police Officer; reminding the public of its rights when stopped by Police.

According to the Association, a motorist can only be stopped by a uniformed officer because of an offence committed before they were stopped. In addition, officers must identify themselves and inform the motorist of this offence.

“We take this opportunity to inform the general public that a motorist can only be stopped by a uniformed Police Officer for due cause if he has formed the reasonable suspicion in his mind that an offence has been committed. That is, the Police Officer must have formed a reasonable suspicion in his mind of an offence prior to stopping the motorist.”

According to the Association, the officer is under a duty to identify himself and inform the motorist of the alleged offence. This is also in keeping with the Police Force’s published guidelines, the Bar Association stated, adding that a motorist is entitled to know the name, rank and identification number of the Police Officer and must comply with all lawful directions of the officer, the aforesaid duty being already discharged.

They also stressed that all members of the Association are expected to conduct themselves in a befitting and ethical manner. Relating that the video was brought to its attention, the Association shied away from commenting directly on the incident in which the lawyer used expletives while addressing the officer before driving away.

“The matter is under investigation and therefore (we) refrain at this time from making any comment thereon. We trust that the said investigation will include the circumstances surrounding the recording, publication and sharing of the video.”

“We also put the general public on notice that the sharing and posting of such recordings on social media or in any such domain could give rise to the issue of the publication and sensationalism of obscene material for which they could be held liable.”

Reports are that the incident occurred at Mahaicony on the East Coast of Demerara after a video surfaced on social media of a man questioning the Police Officer who pulled him over. He was later identified as Attorney Ryan Crawford and was operating a silver car with registration plates PNN 8482.

The Police Officer, who recorded the video, stated on tape that the vehicle was pulled over because he could not see the driver. Nevertheless, Crawford insisted that that was not an offence. Throughout the exchange, Crawford could be seen lecturing the officer on his rights as a commuter and the correct procedure when stopping a vehicle.

Requests for his documents and for him to roll up his window were, however, not complied with. At the ending of the clip, Crawford drove off from the scene.

The matter has attracted the attention of many Guyanese and has significantly divided opinion. While some have expressed the need for more becoming behaviour, many have expressed frustration at constant random stops from Police ranks on the roadways.

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