Kern Richards

Buried yesterday: Kern Richards

Screams for justice rang out at the funeral for Cedros fisher­man Kern “Cava” Richards yesterday.

And family and friends called on Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith to take charge of the investigation and punish the police officers involved in his death.

Few mourners wore masks and there was no social distancing, as close to 100 people gathered to view the body as it was placed in the front yard of Richards’ home at Icacos Village. Public gatherings are now limited to five people.

Richards’ former wife, Kimberley Soomai, his 11-year-old son and 25-year-old Venezuelan girlfriend wailed as they joined hands to place Richards’ signature gold chain around his neck. His body was dressed in a white suit, and was placed in a glass casket, hands holding a bottle of alcohol.

Dozens of Venezuelan nationals wearing T-shirts bearing Richards’ photograph attended the funeral.

The body was then taken to the St Patrick RC Church in Fullerton, where a service was officiated by Pastor Dexter Mitchell. Richards was laid to rest at the Fullerton cemetery.

Richards was shot and killed in a police-related incident at his Bouge Grande Chemin Road home last week Friday.

The 38-year-old man was asleep with his 25-year-old girlfriend, when police officers arrived to execute a search warrant at his home.

Relatives said Richards opened the door and allowed the officers inside.

His sister, Kelonna Richards, said, “His girlfriend told us they heard the noise and watched outside and saw men dressed in police uniform cutting the gate. He opened the door for them and allowed them to search his house.

“While searching, they saw a safe with gold and cash. And that was when they took him to the back of the house.”

The family has dismissed claims by police that Richards walked into a stock room and returned with a firearm. The officers said he shot at them and they responded.

But relatives said the only weapon Richards owned was an air rifle.

Richards was shot multiple times and was pronounced dead at the Point Fortin ­Hospital.

His mother, Michelle Richards, has said she will not rest until her family gets justice for her son’s death.

And apart from smoking marijuana, she said her son was no criminal.

Police confirmed Kern Richards was never charged with a criminal offence.

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Speaking at a news conference yesterday, Dr Maryam Abdool-Richards, Principal Medical Officer, Institutions, noted that more people are being admitted to hospital daily than those being discharged.

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