FOUR video clips displaying criminal activity along Nelson Street, Port of Spain, were yesterday shown as proof that the 21 men released on Monday were not as innocent as they seemed.
The video clips were shown during a press conference held after a seven-hour-long meeting of the National Security Council.
The press conference was held at the Office of the Prime Minister in St Clair, Port of Spain, yesterday.
The Police Service yesterday provided the four video clips obtained from Closed-Circuit cameras located along Nelson Street.
The video clips showed a fatal shooting, a shootout, and motorists being robbed by armed men while stuck in traffic along Nelson Street.
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar described the footage as "disturbing images".
Sources close to the National Security Council said that "more gruesome footage" which depicted "blood and gore" were withheld.
"You may recognise some of the faces from recent pictures," Deputy Police Commissioner Mervyn Richardson who narrated what was in the videos, said.
On Monday, the 21 men from Nelson Street, charged with being members of the Nelson Street gang under the Anti-Gang legislation, were released after Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Roger Gaspard said there was insufficient evidence to lead a successful prosecution against them.
Gerard Samuel, Nigel Trudge, Akeem Guerra, Anthony Darmanie, Christopher Richardson, Derek Miller, Atiba Gorkin, Andy Isaac, David Williams, Kevin Myler, Jules Eligon, Edwin Trotman, Akiel Ash, Winston Wilson, Jabari Martinez, Anthony Armstrong, Simba Cobas, Kareem Myer, Ronald Cobham, Akiel Joseph and Newton Pollard appeared before Chief Magistrate Marcia Ayers-Caesar in the Port of Spain Eight Court on Monday charged with being members of the Nelson Street Gang.
Richardson said the footage was not used in the criminal proceedings against the Nelson Street men because the video images were captured before the Anti-Gang legislation was proclaimed.
"But let me assure the national community the Anti-Gang legislation is enforced and we continue to generate all the evidence and information that will lead to a successful prosecution. Let no one rest assured that the 21 is precedent," Richardson said.
Richardson said the authorities were unable to use the footage because the victims of the crime were too afraid to come forward and testify in court.
"The problem is you cannot prosecute a crime without a victim, except in certain rare exceptions and in these cases the people are actually terrified. So you are faced with a situation where you are seeing criminal activity, you are seeing criminals in operation but you are helpless at the State to do anything about it," Attorney General Anand Ramlogan said.
Persad-Bissessar said she did not see the release of the 21 men as a setback to the State.
"Some may see it as a strike but I don't see it as that. I see it clearly as rule of law operating in our country," Persad-Bissessar said.
The Express yesterday received the police records of six of the 21 released men which showed they had outstanding convictions ranging from firearm offences, drug offences and assault.