PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad and Tobago, March 27, 2019 (CMC) – Police Commissioner, Gary Griffith, has warned of the “growing trend” of family members blaming police officers for criminal activities, carried out by their relatives.
Griffith made the comment, following an incident, in which two men sought to rob an off-duty senior police officer of his vehicle, earlier this month.
“The officer, as is his right in the minimum use of force, took action to defend himself, resulting in the death of one of the perpetrators. The family, of the deceased suspect, later accused the officer — who was, in fact, the victim in this matter — of walking up to the suspects and using lethal force, without cause,” according to a police statement issued, here, that added, the “whole incident was captured on video”.
Griffith said that “it is interesting that family members seem to have bionic eyes, and are always there to see what happened, so as to claim the innocence of their relatives and accuse officers of brutality”.
He said, in this particular case, the video footage did “not lie”, and that the practice of going to the media and “blindly” defending relatives, has become a pattern, by some, to condone criminal activity.
Meanwhile, the investigations are continuing into the latest incident, in which a police officer shot and killed someone, during a shootout.
Police said that Allan Martin — whose father was shot and killed by police, during a daring jail break in 2015 — was killed after he tried to rob an off-duty police officer in Chaguanas, in Central Trinidad, over the last weekend.
The officer, who was accompanied by his 25-year-old girlfriend, had just returned to his home when, after opening the gate to his residence, noted two men exiting another vehicle. Police said one of the men, who was wearing a mask, pointed a gun at the officer’s face.
A gun battle ensued and the suspect ran away with his accomplice. Another exchange of gunfire took place and a team of officers, who later went in search of the two gunmen, found Martin, lying in a track. A mask and gloves were found nearby.
Martin was later pronounced dead at a health institution.
Several persons have been shot and killed by police, so far this year, and the Police Complaints Authority (PCA), in an earlier statement, said that it wanted to assure the public that it has begun its own initiative, independent investigations into all of the incidents, pursuant to Section 26 of the Police Complaints Authority Act.