SOCIAL ACTIVIST Ishmael Samad has vowed to hold protest action outside the Hall of Justice in Port of Spain every Friday in an attempt to raise awareness of the number of people unlawfully killed by police officers.
Samad said he needed to keep in the public domain the troubling issue of some citizens being innocently killed by police officers with the hope that in the long run, notice would be taken and that such officers would face severe penalties.
"An injustice to one is an injustice to all, that is why I am protesting outside the Hall of Justice and I will be here protesting every Friday from 8 (a.m.) to 4 (p.m.)," Samad said yesterday.
He said someone needed to stand up for the families of those "murdered" by police officers, because when such killings occur, the officer(s) responsible usually continues working without facing any consequences.
On August 17, Samad had initiated protest action outside Police Administration Building, Sackville Street, Port of Spain, but the vigil was cut short by police. This was what prompted him to move his protest to outside the Hall of Justice, he said.
At 7 a.m., Samad arrived at the western side of the Hall of Justice along Abercromby Street with placards in hand and more than 20 laminated names of individuals killed by police officers over the years.
Fishing lines and string were used to secure the laminated names to the grassy area along the pavement.
"Last week Monday I was here, but the security told me I had to move because I needed to get permission from (Court and Protocol officer) Jones P Madeira or the Chief Justice (Ivor Archie). I wrote to both of them but I haven't gotten a response," he said.
Samad said despite the non-response of both Archie and Madeira, he decided to protest anyway.
"Once I am on the pavement and I am not obstructing anybody, I am not breaking the law."
Samad is best known for attempting to make a citizen's arrest of former Urban Development Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago (UDeCOTT) chairman Calder Hart at his home on April 14, 2010.
Samad used a sledgehammer to pound the steel gate leading to Hart's De Lima Lane, Cascade home. He was later found guilty of maliciously damaging the gate by Senior Magistrate Lucina Cardenas-Ragoonanan in the Port of Spain Court and fined $7,500.
He has also compiled a list of newspaper articles into a book of those killed by police, entitled "Oh Gord Doh Shoot Meh Nah".