Last update: 01-Aug-2014 6:44 pm
Friday, August 01, 2014
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Probe almost complete
Police say they are close to completing three investigations involving shooting deaths at the hands of police.
Speaking at the weekly press briefing on Wednesday public information officer Insp Wayne Mystar said the files had been almost completed and would be submitted to senior police before going to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.
The files Mystar spoke of covered the deaths of Naim Dean, Joel Apparicio and Nigel Long.
According to police, around 8 pm on April 11, at La Horquette Valley Road, Glencoe, members of the Rapid Response Unit stopped a van in which Dean, 21, was a passenger. A police officer attempted to search his groin area but Dean slapped away his hand and ran. The officer chased him and a scuffle ensued during which Dean reportedly stabbed him. The officer then shot Dean once in the chest.
Dean’s relatives said Dean was shot in cold blood while running away from the police.
They accepted that he was searched and ran away after slapping away the officer’s hand from his groin, but said the officer fired a single gunshot as he ran.
An autopsy report said he was shot in the back and the bullet pierced his lungs.
On May 14, Long was shot dead by a Western Division police officer after he allegedly pointed a gun at the policeman.
According to police, around 11.30 pm a joint police and army patrol was in Bagatelle, Diego Martin, when they saw Long sitting by the road.
An officer shot Long in the chest and claimed to have seen something in his hand resembling a gun. A .38 revolver with six rounds of ammunition was allegedly found in his possession.
On May 22, Apparicio was killed by a Special Reserve Policeman (SRP) in San Juan as he was running along Real Street towards the nearby police station.
Police reports said Apparicio was killed after the SRP had been told Apparicio had robbed someone and was running away. Eyewitnesses claim he was shot in the back by the officer, who followed him up the hill.
The police service had been criticised by the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) head Gillian Lucky for their tardiness in submitting critical information needed by the authority which monitors police investigations involving the deaths of citizens.
On June 11, at a press briefing Lucky said she was upset at the refusal of police to comply with PCA directives to help in unravelling suspected cases of fatal police shootings. She said this has led to a breakdown in law and order within the rank and file of the Police Service.
Since then the police have given their assurance that they would make every effort to address the concerns raised by Lucky.
There have been 29 deaths from police shooting so far this year, 19 of which are being overseen by the PCA.