The mother of a 15-year-old boy from Tunapuna, whose family claims that he was shot and killed by a police officer as part of a neighbourly feud between them and his sister, has sued the State over his death.
In the assault and battery and misfeasance in public office case filed late last month, lawyers representing Josiah Ramsahai’s mother Jeanette, claimed that his death was as a result of a “campaign of harassment” by the officer, whose name was withheld as the grevious allegations against him are yet to be proven in the case, and his colleagues.
According to Ramsahai’s court filings, which were obtained by Guardian Media, the family’s negative interactions with the officer began in 2016 and lasted several months before the teenager was killed on November 18, that year.
In the documents, Ramsahai’s lawyers claimed that the officer shot at a vehicle occupied by him, arrested and detained him for a week without charging him, and verbally threatened to kill him on several occasions.
Her lawyers attached a copy of a report made to the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) a little over a month before he was eventually killed
“What to do? Wait to bury my son. Help!!” Ramsahai wrote in the initial PCA report.
On the date of the teenager’s shooting, he and his brother Dirrel Bullen, both of Dookie Lane, Tunapuna, went to visit their aunt Kizzy at Pasea Extension Street.
While walking back they were allegedly confronted by the officer and his colleagues.
The siblings attempted to evade the officer by running in different directions but Ramsahai was allegedly caught and shot several times.
“Neither Josiah nor Dirrel fired any shots at the officer as they were not armed with any firearm,” her lawyers said.
An autopsy revealed that Ramsahai had been shot 17 times.
In addition to a witness statement provided by Bullen, Ramsahai’s mother is also relying on another provided by the Kizzy, who claimed to have heard the gunshots and ran to the scene as the officers were waiting on a vehicle to take the teenager to the hospital.
“While the police were waiting, Kizzy saw the police officers kicking Josiah whilst they were laughing, and also observed the officer (name witheld) poking the deceased with his gun,” the statement of case said.
Kizzy pleaded with the officers to see the teen’s body but they refused.
“The police made a fool of her and kept slowing down the vehicle as if they would allow her to see him, then speeding away when she got close to the vehicle,” the document said.
The family is also claiming that the harassment even continued after his death as the officer executed a search warrant at the family’s home and planted a firearm in his sister’s room.
She was charged for the illegal firearm but has also filed a report with the PCA over that incident.
Through the lawsuit, Ramsahai is seeking compensation for the distress her son allegedly suffered at the hands of the officer before his eventual death as well as a declaration that his constitutional right to life and security was infringed.
She is also seeking the $18,000 she spent on his funeral.
Ramsahai is being represented by Lee Merry, David Francis and Ajesh Sumessar.