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PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Feb 11, CMC – The Police Complaints Authority (PCA) Monday said it has started “independent investigations” into fatal police shootings in recent days involving members of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS).
So far six people have been shot and killed by police since the start of the year. The latest killings occurred on Sunday, when a 31-year-old electrician from Brazil Trace, San Raphael, in Central Trinidad, was shot after police said they had sought to arrest him on a robbery and malicious wounding charges.
The police said they were responding to a domestic dispute call involving 31-year-old Allister Pierre when they were attacked by the suspect. They said two officers were injured during the attack with one suffering a broken hand. Pierre was taken to a health facility where he died while receiving treatment.
In a brief statement, the PCA said that it had taken note of the “number of fatal shootings over the past four days involving members of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service.
“The PCA would like to assure the public that on its own initiative independent investigations have been commenced into all of the incidents pursuant to Section 26 of the Police Complaints Authority Act”.
It said it was also urging members of the public “that were witnesses to or persons with information on or regarding the incident to kindly contact” them.
Pierre, wife, Akesha Allicock has disputed the account given by the police, saying that while she had called on the authorities for assistance in quelling the domestic dispute, the police did not show any
“He asked what the warrant was about and where the warrant was. The police said ‘don’t study that, all you need to know is that we have a warrant’ Then he said he is not going because they could not tell him what the warrant was about. They tried to take him in and he resisted. After he started resisting they began to beat him.
“He asked them to stop beating him and said he would stop resisting. But they didn’t want to stop. He asked for a call and they said no call. After a while they started to get fed up of him and they shot him. They shot him in his neck and chest. He fell to the ground and after that I saw them holding him by his neck. When I saw him bleeding on the ground I knew that it was the last for him,” she told local media.
But Police Commissioner Gary Griffith said .while he is not here to defend any police officer in cases of wrong doing “let us not be judge and jury every time a police officer is engaged in an exchange of gunfire the media automatically finds the family member who somehow always there when something takes place”.
Last week, police shot and killed a taxi-driver in Central Trinidad. The relatives of Allan Mohammed said he was brutally killed but the police maintain they were shot at by the 24-year-old man, who was a known member of the “Unruly Isis” criminal gang.