SEVEN police officers assigned to the Southern Division Robbery Squad and CID have been charged with the murders of Abigail Johnson, Allana Duncan and Kerron “Fingers” Eccles.
The instructions to charge the officers—six men and one woman—were given by Director of Public Prosecutions Roger Gaspard last evening to a specially hand-picked team of detectives, under the supervision of ACP Raymond Craig, head of the Professional Standards Unit.
The female officer is the mother of a four-month-old baby. She had expressed concern regarding the safety and welfare of her child shortly after her arrest.
During a brief telephone interview last evening, DPP Gaspard confirmed he gave the police advice to charge the officers with the murders of Johnson, Duncan and Eccles.
“I advised the police, earlier, to charge the seven officers with three counts of murder,” Gaspard said.
As word of Gaspard’s advice to charge the officers spread throughout the Police Service, police officers throughout the country expressed shock and concern over the latest developments.
“I can’t believe this has happened. It’s a sad day for the Police Service and a huge embarrassment within the past decade since this incident occurred during the execution of their duties,” a senior police officer who asked not to be named told the Express.
Contacted last evening, Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of Anti-Crime Operations, Mervyn Richardson, said the law must be allowed to take its course.
Saying he did not wish to comment on the decision to lay charges against the officers, Richardson assured that the police will continue to execute their duties without fear or favour.
He said: “Currently this is a mater that is going to be before the court and I will not be commenting on it, but I want to assure the public that we are here to protect and serve them with pride and this what we will and will continue to do.
“I don’t want the public to lose focus of our mandate and in the same breath, we will not tolerate any rogue officers— and I’m not referring to this case since it’s before the court—but I’m speaking in general terms. We have effective systems in place to deal with allegations of misbehaviour and misconduct against our officers and this process will continue as we seek to regain full confidence in the public,” Richardson said.
Six of the officers were held at their homes by police during the early hours last week, while the seventh surrendered himself to officers at the Region III Homicide Bureau of Investigations in San Fernando late on Friday, three months after the killings, which immediately brought a sense of hope for the victims’ family and friends.
The officers were interviewed and statements recorded over the weekend, with one of the officers giving a 17-page detailed statement, sources said.
The killings of the trio caused outrage and sparked a week of fiery protests in Moruga with villagers blocking the roadway with burning tyres and debris during several stand-offs with police officers, causing Commissioner of Police Dwayne Gibbs to fly to the area via a helicopter, where he met with relatives of the victims.
Gibbs gave the relatives the assurance that the killings would be thoroughly investigated and anyone found culpable would be brought to justice.
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