The High Command of the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) appear guarded in giving out information about the manner in which a St. Patrick’s man was shot and killed by a party of police officers who were allegedly responding to a crime that was in the process of being committed in the Plain’s area just over three weeks ago.
A police release dated Friday 25th July, 2014 said that the lawmen are investigating a shooting incident in Plains, St. Patrick which left one man dead.
According to the release: “At the time of incident, police were conducting an operation, in response to a spate of housebreaking and stealing related reports in the Plains, St. Patrick area.
“At approximately 8:10 p.m. during the operation a man wearing a hood, gloves and armed with a chopper and other housebreaking implements and who was in the process of breaking into a house was approached by officers and an altercation ensued.
“The man, Andy Brathwaite, alias “Yambo”, 40 years old of Morne Fendue, St. Patrick was shot during the altercation and was taken to the Princess Alice Hospital at Mirabeau, St. Andrew where he later died.
“The standard investigatory procedure is currently underway. Further updates will be made available”.
During last Friday’s press briefing at police headquarters at Fort George, Assistant Commissioners of Police Edvin Martin and Michael Francois responded to questions posed by reporters pertaining to allegations that the St. Patrick man was shot in the back while running away from the police.
ACP Martin stayed clear of answering the specific question as to whether the bullet struck “Yambo” from in front or behind.
He told reporters that the case file is currently in the hands of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) for consideration and no further comment can be forthcoming.
ACP Francois who is the Officer in Charge of Crime within RGPF quickly butted in and came to the aid of ACP Martin.
“This matter is still for decision from the DPP’s office and as Mr. Martin rightfully said all evidence is sent to the DPP where instructions will be given – the information on that cannot be provided given the outstanding matter,” said ACP Francois.
The senior police officers at the press conference did not indicate whether the police force intended to share the DPP’s conclusion with the public.
The senior police officers were also asked to allay the fears of some sections of the public that there were not trigger-happy police officers who were too quick to discharge their weapons when dispatched to investigate incidents.
According to ACP Martin, there are many approaches that can be taken in discharging a firearm.
“An incident would occur, we don’t know the circumstances, and somebody (a police officer) may be on the ground where he might be attacked. So an individual situation will determine when he can discharge his firearm, how and where you will hit somebody”, he said,
“…So it doesn’t have any specific (situation) to say that he (the officer) will only go for the leg – you may say let me see if I can decapitate him by shooting the leg but if the man attack him with a weapon or whatever, different things will happen,” he added.
Both ACPS Martin and Francois were also reluctant to give information about another shooting incident, which occurred during the Sauteurs J’ouvert last week Tuesday when one individual was shot by the police.
It is alleged that a police officer was attempting to disarm Roy Bernard of Mt Craven, St Patrick and in the process a police firearm was discharged and the civilian was shot.
The senior police officers pointed out that because the matter was still being investigated, details cannot be given out about the incident.
“This matter is currently under investigation and it would not be professional of the police outside of concluding all of the investigations to give a comprehensive statement on the sequence of events,” said ACP Martin.
“…If we give any information, without the culmination of a comprehensive investigation it could be premature and if those events seem to change by the investigation then it would seem like the police changing the story,” he added.
Bernard is said to be in a “stable condition at the General Hospital after the gunshot wound.
As a result of incidents over the Carnival celebrations, RGPF said that three police officers were injured and are currently on sick leave.