CALM was restored in Beetham Gardens yesterday following two days of intense protest action over the killing of resident Christopher Greaves by police on Sunday evening.
The atmosphere at the East Port of Spain community yesterday was in stark contrast to Monday’s sporadic protest which resulted in an exchange of gunfire between residents and members of the armed forces.
Several members of the community said they had intended to continue the protest yesterday afternoon, but later decided on not doing so after learning that Director of the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) Gillian Lucky would be visiting Greaves’s family.
Unlike the heavy police and army presence in the area on Monday and Sunday, yesterday saw only a few police jeeps making occasional patrols through the community.
After Greaves was killed, residents had embarked on fiery protest action, blocking two of the main arteries out of the capital city—the east-bound lane of the Beetham Highway and the Priority Bus Route (PBR). This resulted in a major traffic gridlock, causing police to divert traffic onto the Eastern Main Road.
Residents said they were protesting Greaves’s unjust killing at the hands of the police, stating the 23-year-old father of two was not armed, as was being claimed by police.
They said after being shot, Greaves was left lying along the roadway for close to 30 minutes before he was placed in the tray of a police van and transported to hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.
Police claimed they were on patrol through the area when they noticed Greaves with a nine-millimetre handgun in his possession. They claimed he opened fire on them and they returned fire.
An autopsy was performed on his body yesterday at the Forensic Science Centre, St James. Up to yesterday evening, however, his family said they had not received a copy of the autopsy report.
The registration of death document, however, stated that Greaves died as a result of bullet wounds to the left side of his upper back.
Lucky arrived in the area shortly after 3 p.m. with a team of investigators from the PCA and visited Greaves’s mother, Annette Greaves, at her Fifth Street home.
She informed her that the PCA was already in the process of gathering evidence into her son’s death.
Lucky said the PCA sprung into action as soon as she was made aware of the allegations being made against the officers. Also, she urged the residents to desist from further protest action as it would not bring resolution to the issue.
“We are asking everybody, please, we know it is emotional but do not take the law into your own hands because when you take the law into your own hands you are losing focus of what is the real issue. The real issue is what were the circumstances under which Christopher Greaves was killed,” she said.
Lucky said there will be a full-scale and detailed investigation into the killing, which would include ballistic testing on the weapon police claimed to have been found in Greaves’s possession. “Scientific technology has to be utilised in these cases,” she said.
In response, Annette Greaves told members of the media she agreed that protest action was not a solution to the problem. She said, however, that members of the community became enraged because her son was never involved in any illegal activities, “but I would spread the word that the protest will not continue”.
“If he was a criminal and he was killed by the police, then I would have said ‘well that is the life you live so that is how you have to die’, but he was not that kind of person. Ask anyone,” she said.
Greaves’s funeral will take place tomorrow at 2 p.m.