Police are investigating whether a wrong turn into a community rife with gang violence led to the murder of a 49-year-old coconut wholesaler on Thursday night.
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Brother of man slain by cops: I’M SORRY
The brother of the latest man killed by police has apologised for a statement deemed a direct threat by the police hierarchy, saying grief brought on by the death of his sibling brought him to speak the words he did. “Sorry” was the first comment Kerwin Rodriguez offered to the media at the Forensic Science Centre, St James, yesterday, as he was asked to comment on the threat he made to the lives of police and their families over the killing of his brother Kishawn Daniel, 19, at Desperlie Crescent, Laventille. “I sorry for the statement I made towards the police. “It was just emotions and out of vexation I said that and I am sorry for using that remark. I hope they forgive me,” Rodriguez said, adding he was a law-abiding citizen and had no criminal history.
He said his brother would not have been foolish enough to have been carrying a weapon having been searched by police moments before he was killed. In another interview with CNC3 in Laventille yesterday, Rodriguez said he made the comment on Saturday because he was angry at the police for killing his brother. He claimed police have since threatened to “deal with him” whenever they see him alone. Rodriguez’s apology came one day after head of the North Eastern Division Task Force and vice-president of the Police Social and Welfare Association, Insp Roger Alexander, said Rodriquez’s statement was a direct threat to the welfare of police and their families and they would launch an all-out war against criminals in response to it. “Let us go to war! We have no choice but to go to war! I have been saying this all the time... eventually we will have to confront these persons. We are at war,” Alexander said on i95 FM on Sunday.
“As far as we are concerned, this is an all-out war. There is nothing to negotiate,” he repeated to the T&T Guardian on Sunday.
Alexander stands by comments
In a telephone interview with the T&T Guardian yesterday, Alexander stood by his initial statement, noting the threat and recent shooting incidents against police are signs of war. Asked if he was accepting Rodriguez’s apology, Alexander said that was a matter for acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams to deal with, as he (Alexander) does not negotiate with criminals. Calls made to Williams’s phone went unanswered yesterday. Alexander said he was not concerned with the views of those who believed his comments were irresponsible. He said some people would wish to live in a bubble and “cry like little babies when it burst” and called on his detractors to live in the hotspot areas before commenting.
Reports state around 12.35 am on Saturday, police on foot patrol saw Daniel and two other men acting suspiciously and as they attempted to approach them, the men opened fire on them. The police shot back and Daniel was killed while the other two escaped. Hours later, residents dragged debris across access roads to Desperlie Crescent and set it ablaze. They denied Daniel was shooting at the police and claimed he could not have been armed as he was searched moments before by police who were on patrol. MP for Port-of-Spain South Marlene Mc Donald said on Sunday she intended to write to the Police Complaints Authority for a full investigation into Daniel’s death. He was the 30th person to be killed by police for the year.
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