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PCA gets 19 files on police killings
Four weeks after complaining about the tardiness of police in submitting reports dealing with police killings, the Police Complaints Authority (PAC) has received 19 files on police killings for the year. But many of the files are incomplete as police are still investigating the cases, the authority’s director Gillian Lucky said yesterday. On June 11, Lucky chastised the police for their delay in submitting the files to the authority which monitors all police killings and allegations of police infringement of the law.
In a telephone interview with the T&T Guardian yesterday, Lucky said she received the files on Monday and were perusing them. She said of the files she received some were incomplete as police were still investigating them while some only contained the police version of what occurred. She added in all 19 cases she had received a status report of the investigations. Last month, Lucky submitted a file to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DOPP) Roger Gaspard on the shooting death of Naima Dean in Carenage. That matter, the T&T Guardian has been informed, was still being investigated by the police and no file had been submitted to the DPP.
According to police reports, around 8 pm on April 11 police stopped a van in which Dean was a passenger and began searching him. One policeman attempted to search his groin area and Dean slapped his hand away and ran. The police chased him, caught up to him and a scuffle started. During the scuffle Dean reportedly stabbed the policeman who then drew his gun and shot him once in the chest. Dean’s relatives said he was shot in cold blood while running away. They accepted that he ran away after slapping away the policeman’s hand from his groin area. His autopsy said he died of a single gunshot wound to the back which pierced his lungs.
During a meeting with acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams last month, Lucky raised concerns she had with how the police co-operated with the authority in its probe of cases.
Among the issues she discussed with Williams was whether a body had been formed to deal with fatal shootings of civilians and police. Lucky later told the media Williams said while there were initiatives to have such a body formally implemented, the move must be approved by National Security Minister Gary Griffith who has to take the matter to Cabinet. She said in the interim there was the Professional Standards Bureau of the Police Service, headed by ACP Peter Reyes. Lucky said the PCA had hired a lawyer who would be dealing with all the information and intelligence with respect to police killings. She said the PCA also recommended that the body be informed when a police killing occurred so it also could visit the scene in a timely manner.