The Police Service Commission has joined the list of voices calling on Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith to suspend all the officers involved in the incident in which three Morvant men were killed last month.
Griffith announced over the weekend that the officers in the incident, in which Joel Jacobs, Israel Moses Clinton and Noel Diamond were killed in Second Caledonia, Morvant, had been assigned to desk duty.
Yesterday, however, the PCA director David West advised Griffith that officers involved in the fatal shootings should be immediately suspended. It also said PCA deputy director Michelle Solomon-Baksh had briefed the Director of Public Prosecutions on the matter.
But this was all West said, noting the investigation was highly sensitive and he did not want to prejudice it by giving any further details.
In an immediate response, Griffith confirmed receipt of the PCA’s correspondence and said he will make his response public today “after the said officers have been briefed and informed, as per the proper procedure.”
Griffith reiterated that he was awaiting preliminary reports on the incident from the PCA before he takes any decisive action on the matter despite putting the 12-odd officers involved in the incident on administrative leave.
However, he knocked the PCA for sending out a release on the matter before it was sent to him.
“This is not the appropriate manner to deal with such sensitive issues, by sending out a media release to the public, without the person required to action the recommendation, even getting the actual correspondence in his hands to do so,” he said.
The Law Association of T&T (LATT) also called on Griffith to temporarily suspend the officers over the weekend, saying it has been monitoring the incident and the widespread protests over police brutality which followed.
Also referring to an independent PCA investigation, the association added: “In this regard, we urge those in authority to ensure that the Authority is given the necessary resources to conduct such investigation and to make its recommendations as soon as possible.”
The association also said the investigations and a determination if criminal charges are warranted in the circumstances should be done transparently to help with public trust and confidence in the process.
It also called on Griffith to review the TTPS’s current policies on the interactions with its officers and the public, especially those considered to be suspects in criminal activities.
Jacobs, Diamond and Clinton were shot dead by police on June 27. The officers were allegedly searching the area for suspects in the murder of colleague PC Allen Moseley, who was shot dead near his home hours before. CCTV footage of the shooting was shared on social media and sparked massive public outcry, which culminated in widespread fiery protests across areas in T&T last Tuesday and Wednesday.
During the protest, 30-year-old pregnant mother Ornella Greaves was shot dead while protesting at Beetham Gardens off the Churchill Roosevelt Highway.
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has since appointed a community recovery programme committee, headed by psychologist Anthony Watkins, to study systemic issues in high-risk communities and propose solutions.