Agenda item

Recent Punishment Shootings

Minutes:

The Chair referred to the two recent barbaric punishment shootings in the City which he described as appalling. He stated that the attacks achieved nothing but spread fear in the community, particularly at a time when Altnagelvin Hospital staff are severely under pressure, due to Covid-19.

 

                        Councillor Donnelly noted that the Chair did not take the opportunity to mention the attack in the Waterside area when nine shots were fired at a house.

 

                        The Chair advised Councillor Donnelly that at his first meeting as Chairperson of the Health and Community Committee, he had expressed his condemnation of that particular incident. 

 

                        Councillor Donnelly stated that he wished to take this opportunity to raise the recent behaviour of the PSNI.  He stated that there had been two recent, unacceptable incidents by the PSNI on working class residents of both Nationalist and the Protestant, Unionist, Loyalist, (PUL) communities. He reported that one incident had taken place at a supermarket in the Waterside area with a further incident of harassment on a citizen who had his vehicle stopped and searched in the City side. He stated that these incidents were clearly a case of working class people being abused by the extra powers that the political parties have bestowed on the police force.  He stated that if the Chair was to be consistent when expressing condemnation, people needed to speak out about these incidents.

 

                        The Chair advised that he did not refer to the matter regarding the incident at a local supermarket as the matter was still ongoing and no charges have yet to be brought forward.  In terms of the second incident, he was not aware that it had occurred.

 

                        Councillor Doyle stated that he was aware of both incidents that had recently taken place.  He advised that following meetings that he had with the PSNI Neighbourhood Officer, he was informed that any issues regarding the PSNI, should be communicated directly to a specific police officer.  He stated that he had reported a number of issues to the designated officer, specifically on the recent incident at a local supermarket. However, he had received no response.  He stated that after having watched the video on social media, he had no doubt that the gentleman in question was assaulted by a police officer.  He described the methodology of the PSNI as ridiculous, as they effectively sought to manhandle members of the public before asking questions.  He felt that it was the responsibility of their leadership to ensure that an example was set.

 

                        Councillor Harkin referred to the remarks made by Councillor Donnelly and stated that the issue of policing throughout the Covid crisis was very worrying.  He stated that due to the police being given increased powers, this had resulted in an increase in reports by members of the public of harassment.  He referred to the Police Ombudsman’s report on the Black Lives Matter protests held on 6 June 2020, where those who attended the protests had now been vindicated.  He reminded Members that some Elected Representatives had at that time asked that the full weight of the law to be brought down on those protesters and organisers.  He stated that the videos on social media of people being harassed by the PSNI was cause for concern as he did not feel that there would be a law and order solution towards those breaching the pandemic regulations.