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PCA Director David West

Almost two years after five people were killed in a police-involved shooting in Laventille, the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) has completed a preliminary investigation and sent recommendations on a way forward in the matter to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

The five—Shakeem Francois, 15, Kadeem Phillip, 17, Shaundell St Clair, 20, Mishack Douglas, 22 and Nicholas Barker, 23, were shot while playing cards in a yard, by officers of the Inter-Agency Task Force on October 25, 2018.

In the aftermath of the shootings, police said they had been shot at and were returning fire, while relatives of the men contended they were shot in cold blood after putting their hands up and surrendering to the officers.

The PCA issued a release yesterday saying they had completed their investigation and the findings were sent to the DPP for further action “in accordance with the principles of due process.”

Guardian Media yesterday asked PCA head David West to clarify what further action the body had recommended but he declined.

He also declined to say what the findings of the investigation were. Instead, he said the decision to lay charges or not now lies with the DPP.

In the release, the PCA said it exercised the right to launch an investigation, provided by Section 30 (1) of the PCA Chap. 15:05 which states, “The Authority may conduct a preliminary investigation to assist it to identify whether or not there is conduct to justify a more complete investigation under the Act, or refer it to the Director of Public Prosecutions, Commissioner or the Commission for further action.”

The release further stated, “Our investigations and recommendations should provide assurance to both the public and Police that deaths or serious injuries that happen during or following police contact would be properly handled.”