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An outrage that officer has not been charged


DAVID COMISSIONG

An outrage that officer has not been charged

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MY DEEPEST and most profound sympathy goes out to Mrs Marleen Knight, the widow of the late Selwyn Knight.

Mrs Knight has been victimised twice: the first time, by the person who shot both her husband and her son in their backs, and the second time, by a callous, inequitable, irresponsible and heartless criminal justice system that refuses to charge the person who killed Mrs Knight’s husband and severely wounded her son.

It is now 12 days since our fellow citizen was shot in his back and killed and yet no charge has been brought against the policeman who perpetrated the shooting.

It is also noteworthy that, to date, we have heard virtually nothing from the Commissioner of Police about this matter, and that all we have heard from Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite is a formal expression of regret at the loss of life and some verbiage about the likelihood of the police officer involved in the shooting being traumatised.

As distressing and amazing as this state of affairs may be, it is not surprising. Indeed, it is “par for the course” where the phenomenon of police shootings of civilians in Barbados is concerned.

When was the last time a police officer was charged with the wrongful death of a civilian in Barbados?

I am not aware of a single instance in which this has happened. And so, it is no wonder that we continue to have the experience of some police officers casually and recklessly discharging their firearms at civilians.

Indeed, I would like to remind Barbadians that just about three years ago – April 3, 2012 – a police officer shot young Jamar Maynard through the back of his arm at Cheapside Road, Bridgetown; the young man subsequently bled to death. Not only did the police authorities refuse to charge the officer in question, but the coroner decreed, after an inquest, that the police officer in question had been justified in his actions.

I would like to take this opportunity to admonish my fellow Barbadian citizens that this most recent shooting and the way it is being treated by the authorities demands a public expression of outrage on our part.

If we do not speak up and denounce the highly unsatisfactory manner in which this matter is being treated, and also demand justice for the late Selwyn Knight and his son, Junior Jamar Knight, we will – by our silence and inaction – be sending a very wrong and a very dangerous message to the officers of the Royal Barbados Police Force and to our entire society.

If we want to put an end to reckless police shootings in Barbados we must speak out on this matter.

– DAVID COMISSIONG, president of the Clement Payne Movement.

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