For over six hours yesterday, East Port of Spain was clogged with smoke as residents of the East Dry River/Laventille staged a fiery protest against the death of 19-year-old Kishawn Daniel aka “Limit” who was killed early yesterday morning by officers of the Inter Agency Task Force (IATF).
Irate residents had officers of the Port of Spain Division scampering along Picadilly Street and Laventille Road as they blocked the roadways with debris, tyres, rubbish, and in some cases even bags of faeces as they showed their anger against the actions of the police.
Residents claim that the officers killed Daniel in “cold blood” as he was making his way inside his home, however, police reports tell a different story.
Police said at about 12.30 p.m. officers of the IATF were on foot patrol along Desperlie Crescent, Laventille, when they observed three men standing along the roadway acting suspiciously. The officers challenged the men, and they were reportedly greeted by gunfire.
In response to this threat against their lives, the officers drew their firearms and opened fire on the three men.
In the exchange, Daniel was hit about his upper torso, while the two remaining men fled the scene.
A loaded .40 pistol was recovered near Daniel’s body before he was taken to the Port of Spain General Hospital.
However, the 19-year-old was pronounced dead on arrival.
Residents however, disputed this report, saying that the officers killed Daniel right outside his home for no reason.
According to residents who spoke to the Sunday Express yesterday at the scene, Daniel was with a group of men who were liming along Laventille Road eating food on the curb, when three police vehicles pulled alongside them.
The officers exited the vehicle and confronted the men on the corner and conducted stop searches, however, nothing was found and as a result the three vehicles left the men without incident.
“After that, we just lose the vibes to be outside, and Daniel and them boys buss out. He pick up his phone called his mother and say he coming home now. The man walk to his house normal, normal, and when he reach the gate to his house, a group of policemen see him and oppose him and just gun him down like a dog just so. The man was outside his house. He was on his phone. He had nothing on him! The police had literally just search him! And then I hearing reports this morning on the news saying that Kishawn had a gun on him? That is madness! If he had a weapon on him, they would have arrested him when the officers first search him. Them police just lying to the media and they killing poor people for no reason. And if we retaliate you know what they will say? That all of us are criminals and they within their rights. This is why we out on the roads now. We cannot let them get away with this nonsense at all,” explained one resident who did not wish to be identified.
It was also explained that Daniel’s girlfriend was several months pregnant with the teenager’s first child.
However, some of the older residents in the area painted a different story and condemned the actions of the young men in their protest.
“They engaging in all kinda activities. They may not be killing people like they used to up this side anymore, but the criminality still very much alive, and they all know Daniel was involved. Maybe the police was wrong, I don’t know, I wasn’t there. But most of them who out here on the roads are people who was involved in criminal activity themselves. They want to talk about unjustness and how they all see what happened. But why is it that when a murder happens, nobody does see anything and you never hear about any protests, yet police kill a man, and everybody from here to Matelot know exactly what went on? That is madness,” explained an elderly woman.
Daniel’s death brings the number of people killed by police officers for the year thus far to 30.