Video footage of the police-related shooting in South Oropouche does not appear to show that Coast Guard member Ely Goodridge was armed when he was shot by the police on Tuesday. A senior police officer also confirmed that investigators received no report of Goodridge being armed.
This, however, conflicts with a media release from the Police Service hours after the incident occurred, which stated that Goodridge attacked the police officers with a cutlass. The incident occurred at Berridge Trace, South Oropouche when officers of the Port-of-Spain Division and a bailiff went to the property to effect an eviction based on a High Court order.
Guardian Media also obtained a police report that made no mention of Goodridge being armed. The report stated that the eviction team was approached by Goodridge and two other men as they about to commence demolition and were blocking the equipment, threatening workers and provoking the police.
The report stated that Goodridge held one of the officers in a headlock and began cuffing him to his head before pushing him down a hill. The report stated that when the other officers went to their colleague’s assistance, one of the men pushed an officer from behind and grabbed at his firearm which was slung to the front of his body.
The gun, the report stated, then accidentally discharged striking him in the back area. Two of the officers sought medical treatment for soft tissue injuries and were discharged.
The three minutes and 48-second video clip shows a confrontation with civilians, including Goodridge, and police officers wearing masks by a galvanise shed. The camera moves away from the group for a few seconds and then it returns to the shed where Goodridge is seen shoving a police officer.
As the other officers intervene, Goodridge scuffles with them and falls on a log. A loud noise is heard as Goodridge tumbles down the hill.
The video, however, also contradicts the Goodridge’s relative’s version of the incident, as Goodridge’s brother Vaughn had claimed they asked the police for permission to dismantle their shed instead of them demolishing it.
He had claimed that a security officer pushed his partner and he fell down a hill. He said when Goodridge returned after helping their partner, the police officer who shot him stamped him on his chest. He said his brother stumbled on a log and fell back on a police officer and they rolled down the hill.
Vaughn said he was running to his brother’s aid but he fell and then heard a gunshot. The five-acre property where the incident occurred has been the subject of a court battle between the Goodridge family and a company for several years.
Goodridge is still warded at the hospital in a stable condition. The TTPS, however, has launched an investigation into the incident.