Hours after the fatal police shootings of Rochyon King Ashterman and his girlfriend Kristian Kerri Serries in Santa Cruz, the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) launched a probe into the matter.
The confirmation came on Monday from PCA’s director David West in a telephone interview.
“The PCA is doing its investigation into the fatal shootings,” West said.
It was reported that Ashterman and Serries were shot by police officers of the Special Operations Response Team (SORT) along La Canoa Road on Friday night.
So far, no witness in Ashterman and Serries’ killings have approached the PCA to give a statement.
The number of “police-related shootings” for this year, West said stood at 24. This figure includes Ashterman and Serries’ deaths.
In the PCA’s 2016/2017 report it stated that there were 59 fatal police shootings, while there were 23 non-fatal shootings by the police.
West said most of the PCA’s investigations into such shootings are ongoing.
“We (PCA) have to mirror the police’s file with what we have from our own independent investigation,” West said. The PCA also has to await the pathologist’s report which also takes time.
West said he knows of a 2018 PCA investigation that involved 44 witnesses and statements being tendered. This matter is currently before the court. Some matters have also closed.
West said the biggest challenge faced by the PCA was getting witnesses to come forward to give evidence.
He also gave an update of 14-year-old Naomi Nelson who was killed during a shooting involving police officers in Carenage in May, stating “we are moving forward with that investigation.” Nelson was among three people who were killed by police in a shooting incident and sparked protest action by residents.
West said last month’s killing of Sea Lots resident Akani “Dole” Adams by officers from SORT was also progressing.
“I believe we’ve had information from residents. I am not directly involved in that investigation. I understood from an investigator that somebody was coming forward to give information on that matter,” West said.
West appealed to the public to have confidence in the PCA as they have been trying its best to find the truth behind all police-related shootings of civilians.
Reporter: Shaliza Hassanali