Five months after a police-involved shooting which lead to the death of three men and subsequent disruptive protests in east Port-of-Spain, the Police Complaints Authority has forwarded the findings of its preliminary investigation to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.
In a release yesterday, the PCA, headed by David West, confirmed it had completed the preliminary investigation into the incident at Second Caledonia, Morvant, on June 27, 2020 and had forwarded its findings for further action “in accordance with the principles of due process.”
The release said, “The deceased – Joel Jacob; Noel Diamond and Israel Moses Clinton – were shot by members of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service. After analysis of the evidence gathered by PCA investigators, the information was sent to the DPP, pursuant to 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.”
It added, “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.”
Contacted yesterday on the latest scenario, Joel Jacob’s father Sterling said the family was praying for justice.“We know we will get justice. We are sure, from the evidence we have, we are sure justice will be served,” he said in phone interview yesterday.Jacob acknowledged they still had to await word from the DPP’s office and the police that charges would follow but stressed, “But we have the faith.”
His son Joel Jacob was celebrating his 38th birthday when the incident occurred. Yesterday, the senior Jacob said his son’s wife was still going through trauma.“No way of getting over it, she still has troubles, sometimes gets up in the middle of the night,” said Jacobs, who added his son’s daughters, aged two and one, still don’t understand why he is no longer around.
“This Christmas it have no Christmas with us. We are still mourning. We are tying to pick up the pieces,” he said.
“This situation of police killing innocent have to stop, here and now is the time.”
Video footage of the shooting, which appeared to show two of the men initially surrendering to the heavily armed officers, went viral at the time, prompting widespread protests across east Port-of-Spain.
Police claimed one of the men reached for a firearm in the back seat of the vehicle, prompting them to open fire. In July, seven officers involved in the incident were sent on administrative leave.
The protests following the shooting also sparked an investigation into another possible police-involved shooting following the death of Ornella Greaves. Greaves, 30, a mother of four who was pregnant, was fatally struck by gunfire while a part of protest demonstrations at Beetham Gardens.
Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith, who returned to active duty yesterday, did not respond to Guardian Media’s queries concerning the PCA release yesterday.