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Complaints Authority seeking information on 18 police killings

By Susan Mohammed susan.mohammed@trinidadexpress.com

THE Police Complaints Authority (PCA) has appealed to Acting Commissioner of Police (CoP) Stephen Williams, asking that he provide evidence on 18 police killings being investigated over the last six years.

Director of the PCA, Gillian Lucky, said the 18 matters, as well as the deaths of Tabaquite handyman George Ashby in 2009 and Caroni mother Stacy Ramdeen, involve allegations of impropriety on the part of police officers.

Lucky said the PCA has written letters, some over a year ago, requesting detailed and specific information relating to the cases, and there have been no responses to date.

"These police killings, in fairness to the current Acting Commissioner of Police, go back to a time before his tenure. Some of these letters have been written to the former CoP, Mr Gibbs", said Lucky, who met with Williams at police headquarters last week.

"But I indicated to him (Williams) that it is necessary the we put some level of priority into the matters. All are very important."

She said: "When we write these letters we are not nebulous and generic. We are very specific in areas that we think that evidence can still be retrievable and relevant."

Lucky listed 18 cases to Williams that the PCA is seeking information on. (See sidebar)

In the case of Ashby, she said, the PCA had received a file, "but it is an incomplete file. We find that his case is taking a long time".

On January 23, 2009, Ashby was shot and killed by police officers who claimed Ashby was a suspect in a robbery.

Persons who spent time with him on the day he died said that Ashby, a handyman of the Tabaquite Composite School, had helped at the school preparing a meal, then left for his home nearby in his Nissan B-11 Sentra with a weed-whacker protruding from a window of the car.

In the case of Ramdeen, Lucky was told the police were still awaiting the review of two autopsy reports sent to United States-based pathologist Dr James Gill.

She said she was told Deputy Police Commissioner Mervyn Richardson had forwarded a request to the Director of the Forensic Science Centre, Artlette Lewis, seeking any additional evidence on the matter, and he would have that forwarded it to the PCA.

Lucky said that she requested a meeting with Williams and his divisional heads.

"I want to use it as an opportunity to discuss some of the challenges of the PCA in the execution of our functions, and how we can ensure there is no compromise with respect to our ensuring that we both fulfill out mandates.

"We also want to find out if there are any challenges they may have with the PCA, to ensure a smoother running of the process to cut the delays in terms of fulfilling our mandate. We really have to address this in a comprehensive manner," she said.

List of victims 1. Nkosi Borde, Nigel Eminess and Hayden Honore on November 12, 2011; 2. Kevon Swain on November 5, 2006; 3. Joseph Morton on June 12, 2012; 4. Stephen Henry on September 10, 2012; 5. Avidesh Saransingh on Nov 1, 2012; 6. Derry Dyette on July 9, 2012; 7. PC Anil Persad on May 12, 2011; 8. Madan Gopaul on November 8, 2011; 9. Atiba Duncan on 21 March, 2012; 10. Prince Che King on February 24, 2011; 11. Kent Guy on June 8, 2012; 12. Keon Hazelwood on September 26, 2012; 13. Joepaul Sanchez on January 7, 2012; 14. Jodie Parris on June 21, 2012; 15. Shawn John on August 29, 2012; 16. Andre Isadore on May 11. 2012; 17. Anderson Leed on June 1, 2012; 18.Nigel Cesar on August 21, 2012

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