The killing of Hakeem Alexander, 16, and his cousin Tevin Alexander, 15, by police officers on Monday afternoon has fortified concerns of the Director of the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) Gillian Lucky, as she prepares to meet with acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams today.
The deaths of the two cousins came less than 24 hours after Lucky had commented on the number of police killings, in which she indicated it was her concern surrounding the then figure of 24 deaths, which led her to seek a meeting with Williams.
Speaking to the Express yesterday, Lucky said the meeting was scheduled to take place this morning at the Police Administration Building in Port of Spain following which she will host a news briefing in the afternoon.
She said: “I have previously indicated my concerns on the number of civilians who have been killed by police for the year thus far. At that time (Sunday) the number was 24, and what has occurred on Monday afternoon has fortified my position.
“It further emphasises the need for the meeting with the Commissioner of Police and the need for all these now 26 matters to be properly and thoroughly investigated so that a determination can be made.
“Now let me be clear. Policemen and women are citizens of this country and as such, they too are entitled to the presumption of innocence, the presumption that there was no wrongdoing in their actions.
“The PCA is in no way against the police performing their duties in a lawful manner, but rather, we are simply the voice for transparency.
“We call for thorough investigations with the view of exonerating those officers in matters who have done nothing wrong, or for determining if officers did in fact use excessive action,” Lucky explained.
She noted that the public, at the end of the day, simply wanted to know the truth in these incidents and therefore the investigations were very important as it afforded the officers involved an opportunity to distance themselves from any allegations and have their names cleared against any claims of impropriety.
Lucky also noted that up to yesterday evening, she had not received an official report on the killing of the two cousins.
However, she noted the PCA had taken note of the reports in the various media houses and had determined that the matter fell within the remits of the PCA and as such the “evidence-gathering process” had already been initiated.