Naomi Nelson

killed in crossfire: Naomi Nelson

THE Police Complaints Authority (PCA) has investigated 150 fatal police shooting incidents resulting in 258 deaths from 2011 to March 2019.

And despite restrictions in place for Covid-19, the PCA continues to work remotely on cases.

Speaking with the Express on Thursday, PCA director David West said: “We are still conducting investigations. We are working from home, calling police stations, video conferencing where available, so investigations are continuing.”

An Express tally has shown that, as of April 30, 2020, there have been 27 police killings this year.

And the PCA is already looking into 150 fatal shooting incidents, from 2011-March 2019.

West said despite mechanisms in place for Covid-19, his team of investigators has been getting co-operation from witnesses.

“We have been getting co-operation...things have been going well. Investigations are continuing but in a limited fashion,” West said.

Citing that some cases have reached an advanced stage, West said the 2018 police killing of Yasin Richardson has been completed and the PCA’s recommendations sent to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

In May 2018, four police officers were detained for questioning for their role in the shooting.

According to police reports, it is alleged that Richardson and another man were in a vehicle which attempted to evade a police roadblock in Arima.

The officers shot at the car, which eventually crashed along Tumpuna Road.

Part of the incident was captured on CCTV cameras.

The other man was injured in the incident.

Ballistic testing

Additionally, West said, the PCA is awaiting results of ballistic testing from the Forensic Science Centre in the matter of teenager Naomi Nelson.

“Witnesses have come forward and we are awaiting those results to move forward,” West said.

Nelson, 14, was shot dead near her Big Yard Road, Carenage, home during an alleged exchange of gunfire between police and gunmen on May 3 last year

Police said while attempting to detain a resident around 7.30 that night, there was an exchange of gunfire between themselves and a group of gunmen, during which a police constable was also shot in his chest.

During the exchange, Nelson, a pupil of Mucurapo East Secondary School and member of the Western Division Police Youth Club, was killed by a single bullet to the back of the head.

Also killed were Keron “Frosty” Eve, 30, and Kareem Baldwin Roberts, 27.

PCA statistical data

The 150 fatal shooting incidents under investigation by the PCA, from 2011-March 2019, resulted in 258 deaths.

Additionally, statistics obtained from the PCA revealed that upon completion of investigations into the fatal shootings, 16 “shooting complaints have been made with recommendation for criminal prosecution or request for a coroner’s inquest”.

These include 11 inquests and five referrals to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Forty-two matters are closed “with no referrals” (no further action taken).

PCA statistics further revealed that in 2011, there were six fatal police shootings resulting in 20 deaths.

2012 - three shootings resulting in 23 deaths

2013 - 16 shootings resulting in 22 deaths

2014 - 19 shootings resulting in 37 deaths

2015 - six shootings resulting in 15 deaths

2016 - 18 shootings resulting in 31 deaths

2017 - 34 shootings resulting in 40 deaths

2018 - 32 shootings resulting in 47 deaths

2019 - 16 shootings resulting in 23 deaths.

Appointed in 2010

In a previous interview with the Express, West explained that although Act No. 8 of 2006 was proclaimed and brought into force on January 1, 2007. It was not until December 29, 2010 that the PCA’s first director and deputy director were appointed by the President.

Prior to these appointments, as an interim measure, all complaints received were forwarded to the Police Complaints Board, which would then pass the information to be investigated by the police.

West had indicated that the PCA “can only initiate an investigation into a shooting if it is made aware of it”.

“The PCA becomes aware of shootings via media reports, through witnesses to the shootings and, only fairly recently, through reports received from the (Trinidad and Tobago Police Service) Professional Standards Bureau,” he had said.

Police Killings in 2020 (as of April 30)

January 4

One man was fatally shot by police along Cameron Hill, Maraval, after a group of men allegedly opened fire on Western Division officers who were on patrol at the time. He is unidentified.

January 6

Two men who attempted to rob a bar along Arima Old Road in Arima were fatally shot by an off-duty police officer. The men remain unidentified.

January 7

Justin Kendall, 41, shot to death by SORT officers along Bamboo #2, Valsayn.

He was wanted in connection with the murder of Joseph “Hulk” Toussaint and the attempted murder of a woman police constable.

January 14

Damion George, of Water Bridge Road, Diego Martin, shot dead at about 1.30 a.m. along the Churchill Roosevelt Highway near Grand Bazaar. Police were responding to an armed robbery.

January 16

21-year-old Jamal Baptiste, of Church Street, Longdenville, shot dead along Caparo Valley Road, Longdenville, after an escape from Chaguanas police station.

January 31

Glean Bain shot dead by SORT, along Laventille Road, San Juan

February 8

Renrick Hudson Phillip, 36, shot dead outside a bar in Todd’s Road, Chaguanas, during an alleged confrontation with an off-duty police officer.

February 9

Miguel Cox and Keshorn Cox, both of Chinapoo Village, Morvant, and two other men yet to be identified killed by NEDTF officers in Aranjuez.

February 10

Nigel Antoine shot dead at Hilltop Drive, Claxton Bay during alleged confrontation with Central Division police.

February 12

Unidentified man shot dead at a Chinese restaurant in Morvant.

February 13

Man identified as “Son Son” shot dead in San Rafael by ND officers responding to a report of a robbery.

February 19

Sydney Saroop, alias “Papa”, shot dead in Phase 5, Beetham Gardens

February 21

Josue Perdomo, Sixth Street, Barataria

March 16

Brandon Rojas, 26, shot dead by SORT in Second Caledonia, Morvant.

March 17

Unidentified man shot dead during a home invasion at Goodwood Park.

March 24

Pychius Regis, 25, shot dead at Windy Hill, Arouca.

April 1

Unidentified man shot dead in Valencia during confrontation with officers of Eastern Division. Rifle seized

April 20

Three males — Nicholas Seemungal, 17, Kadeem Isaac, 21, and Tajniar Charles, 22, shot dead by SORT officers at Vicky Trace, La Canoa Road, Santa Cruz.

April 25

Malcolm Aberdeen, 19, of La Canoa Road, San Juan, shot dead by NEDTF officers in Sangre Chiquito.

April 29

Farouki John, 33, shot dead along Benny Road, Valencia, by IATF officers. He has addresses all over Trinidad. Last address St James.

April 30

Lyndon Mohammed AKA “Dracula” shot dead along Ratchet Hill, Cocorite.

—Compiled by Alexander Bruzual

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