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(SNO) — Despite post-mortem results which indicate that Ali Smith’s death is not consistent with physical violence, a law enforcement source has told St. Lucia News Online that if it’s proven that Smith was beaten, charges could still be laid in the case.
Smith, a 33-year-old resident of Marisule, Gros Islet, who died on April 13, 2019, around 7:30 a.m., was allegedly beaten by a police officer during the first week of March 2019.
He was accused of stealing a motor vehicle, a claim his relatives have denied.
Relatives believe he died as a result of the beating he received from the police, however post-mortem results have shown that he died from “left cerebral infarction due to secondary polycythemia as a result of COPD”.
Polycythemia, which is an increase in the number of red blood cells above the normal range, can be of a ‘primary’, as a result of a genetic mutation, or ‘secondary’, as a result of another illness.
COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is a common lung disease, according to Wikipedia, which further states: “Having COPD makes it hard to breathe. There are two main forms of COPD: chronic bronchitis, which involves a long-term cough with mucus, and emphysema, which involves damage to the lungs over time.”
These reasons are not consistent with a beating but according to our source the matter is still being investigated.
“Whether he died from the injuries he allegedly sustained from police or not, it is a criminal offence to assault someone and that has to be thoroughly investigated,” the law enforcement source.
“If it’s found out they did beat him then charges can be preferred,” the source added.
Smith and his family are however being blamed for not reporting the alleged beating sooner.
“He nor the family made a report in the time when it allegedly happened, which was the first week in March. He had not gone to a doctor or anything then. He died on the 13th of April,” the source added.
“The autopsy (post-mortem) was done over a month after the alleged incident. It wasn’t like he was beaten today and went in and died. He went to the hospital long after, and with COPD-related complications,” the source further explained.
Some members of the public are however not buying into the post-mortem results, and the accompanying explanations, with many on social media claiming that the police are trying to cover up, as usual, for their own.