Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Victim’s brother sorry for police ‘threats’

Kerwin Rodriguez, older brother of 19-year-old Kishawn Daniel, who was killed by police on Saturday morning, formally apologised yesterday for remarks he made during protests along Laventille Road, East Port of Spain at the weekend.

On Saturday, during an interview, an emotional Rodriguez told the media: “You see how they (the police) treat my little brother? The police and them will feel it. They have family they have to go home to. They have to sign in for their gun, we don’t have to sign in for nothing and they have to feel it the same way.”

This prompted several responses from senior officers in the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) and Ministry of National Security officials, who viewed the statement as a threat against officers. Among those who responded were Insp Roger Alexander, vice-president of the TTPS Social and Welfare Association, who, during an interview on i95.5FM, said he viewed the comments as “direct threats” made against the lives of the officers involved in the incident.

Yesterday, however, Rodriguez took the opportunity to clarify his words, saying at the time he made the comment, he was in an emotional state and he did not mean to threaten police officers. “They can check my record, I am a law-abiding citizen and I have no convictions nor have I been sent to jail for anything. I am sorry for the statements I made that day towards the police. My statement was wrong and I apologise,” Rodriguez said.

An autopsy performed by Dr McDonald Borris yesterday confirmed Daniel died as a result of multiple gunshot wounds to his body. It also indicated that Daniel was facing his shooters at the time of the incident.

According to police reports, at about 12.30 a.m. on Saturday, police officers 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, 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 other men fled the scene.

A loaded .40 pistol was recovered near Daniel’s body before he was taken to Port of Spain General Hospital. The 19-year-old was pronounced dead on arrival.

Daniel’s death led to fiery protests throughout East Port of Spain for most of the day. —See Page 19