National Security Minister Jack Warner yesterday defended the police officers involved in Tuesday night's shooting death of a man in Laventille.
Warner said he could not understand a culture that accepted when one alleged bandit shot another, but not police shooting at a bandit.
"For me, what happened last night was the police legitimately pursuing their duties when they were confronted by a gunman, and they retaliated. Nothing more, nothing less, Warner said.
He made the statement yesterday as he toured the Tattoo Village, set up in Woodford Square, Port of Spain, accompanied by Attorney General Anand Ramlogan.
"It is quite good in Laventille if a criminal shoots another alleged criminal, but when police shoots that's a big evil. Something has to be wrong with the culture and that has to be addressed. I will have to find out how we can address that," Warner said.
"I don't have the answers. It can't be right for a criminal to shoot another criminal, but when a police officer defends himself, that's a big evil, " he said.
Warner was referring to the statements made by family members of deceased Nigel "Black Boy" Caesar, who was shot by police in an alleged exchange of gunfire on Tuesday evening. Though Warner said he commiserated with Caesar's family, he still supported the police who were carrying out their duties.
Warner has been criticised by Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley for being too involved in the policing process and even taking over the role and function of the Commissioner of Police.
"He can say what he want," was Warner's response to this.
"Nothing he has ever said has ever made sense to me or to this country. I have never heard a leader who is aspiring to be in Government to be so irresponsible in what he says and what he does.
"This Government shall support its police officers in the legitimate pursuit of their duties, and if that infers that they have to confront criminals from time to time then they have to deal with it. But I will not stand idly by and not support our officers," he said.
Ramlogan also added his support to both Warner and the police officers.
"The State stands ready to defend the Constitutional rights of all citizens and the State stands for respect for the rule of law. Respect for law is a double-edged sword. The law will take its course, but the State stands ready to defend the police officers in the legitimate pursuit of their duties," he said.