Outcomes - Selected Case Summaries



Driving Under the Influence (DUI) Ride-A-Long Assists Officer During Arrest

Investigation | 12 October 2020
Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS)

The RCIPS PSU forwarded a complaint made by a man who was arrested on suspicion of DUI. He alleged that, following his arrest, he was put in danger by a police officer who engaged in a vehicle pursuit with the DUI suspect in his patrol vehicle.

Following the initial DUI arrest, the man was processed at the police detention centre. He was driven home by an RCIPS officer to obtain his passport, which he was required to surrender to meet bail conditions. On the way to his residence, the RCIPS officer spotted a speeding vehicle and followed it. The DUI suspect believed that the officer’s actions in following the speeding vehicle unnecessarily put his safety at risk.

When the speeding driver stopped, the police officer stopped and ordered the DUI suspect to remain in the patrol car while the officer spoke with the driver of the speeding vehicle. The officer then arrested the driver of the speeding vehicle, who was also suspected of DUI, and a struggle ensued. During the struggle, the original DUI suspect in the patrol car exited the vehicle and went to assist the police officer in the struggle with the driver of the speeding car. Eventually, another police officer took custody of the driver of the speeding vehicle and the first officer continued with the task of securing the first DUI suspect’s passport.

Following an investigation, which included a review of the RCIPS pursuit policy, the Ombudsman determined that the officer involved in this situation was never actually involved in a pursuit. The driver of the speeding vehicle seemed to be unaware of the requirement to stop, since the officer’s patrol car never caught up to him. If the driver of the speeding vehicle was intentionally avoiding the police, it is unlikely that he would have voluntarily stopped in a parking lot, as he did. Furthermore, the officer followed the speeding vehicle at a safe distance and a safe speed.

The Ombudsman noted that, according to the RCIPS pursuit policy, an officer must consider “whether there is a passenger or ride-a-long in the vehicle”. The policy requires the officer to consider the totality of the circumstances and weigh the risks. Everything in this incident pointed toward the officer having due regard to the DUI suspect’s safety in his patrol vehicle. It was stated that the DUI suspect told the officer to “do what you have to do” in following the speeding vehicle and that the suspect chose to place himself at greater risk by assisting in the struggle between the officer and the driver of the speeding vehicle. Finally, the complaint was made about three months after the incident, apparently at the direction of the DUI suspect’s lawyer, leaving the Ombudsman with the impression that this complaint was seen by the attorney to be of benefit to his client in the DUI case. 

The complaint was not supported.