Notorious US police chief to reform security forces in Bahrain

London, Feb.17 (ANI): A controversial American police chief has been hired by Bahrain to train and reform the nation's security forces.

According to The Guardian, John Timoney spent nearly three decades with the New York City police department before serving as head of police in Philadelphia and Miami.

The paper said that Timoney has been hired - along with former assistant commissioner of Britain's Metropolitan Police, John Yates - to reform Bahrain's security forces.

The two were brought on after a report was published detailing the torture and death of prisoners held by Bahraini authorities.

Timoney's supporters view him as a tough, smart cop with a record for turning failing police departments around and controlling mass demonstrations.

In effect, they argue, he's the perfect candidate to improve Bahrain's security forces, which have been linked to the killing, torture and flagrant suppression of dissident protesters.

The chief's critics, however, say Timoney's handling of protests and gatherings in each of the cities he's served in are wrought with examples of police abuse, illegal infiltration tactics, fear mongering and a blatant disregard for freedom of expression.

Timoney's first notable involvement in a large scale clash between the police and the public occurred in 1988, when he was deputy commissioner of the NYPD and led the response to the so-called Tompkins Square Park riot.

The incident resulted in 121 complaints of police misconduct and helped launch Timoney's reputation as an officer who could deal with large crowds.

That same year he was brought on as commissioner of the Philadelphia police department.

As commissioner in Philadelphia, Timoney presided over the arrests of more than 380 protesters at the 2000 Republican National Convention.

At the time, the ACLU's Philadelphia chapter denounced Timoney's department for collaborating with the state police to infiltrate and spy on protest groups, in violation of a mayoral decree.

Before the protests began Timoney's officers conducted raids of warehouses and spaces where activists where constructing puppets and banners for the demonstrations.

That same year Esquire magazine called Chief Timoney America's "best cop" and praised his rough and tumble attitude, as well as his commitment to protecting the public.

In Philadelphia Timoney's officers favored a hands-on approach to managing demonstrators.

He thereafter went to Miami and expanded on the program that he had started in Philadelphia.(ANI)