Cops kill gardener
By STACY MOORE Sunday, October 28 2012
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Seecharan jones shows off two certificates his son, Nigel Jones, right, collected for completing courses at his Biche home yesterday. ...
THE killing of a Biche villager at the hands of police on Friday sparked massive fiery protests yesterday in the district by residents, who described the shooting of Nigel Jones as a “cold blooded murder”.
Jones, 32, who would have celebrated his birthday next month, was shot dead by police officers as he made his way home from a garden where he had gone to work. The bag he was carrying contained a hand of green figs, some grapefruits and a pack of corn seeds.
From as early as 4 am yesterday, angry residents blocked different areas of the Southern Cumuto roadway with debris, stones and old furniture, which were then set on fire as they demanded answers to Jones’ killing.
According to police reports, the incident occurred at about 3.30 pm on Friday. Officers were on mobile patrol in the area when they allegedly saw Jones acting suspiciously. Upon seeing officers, reports said Jones ran into nearby bushes, but was followed by officers. Police said Jones attempted to attack them with a cutlass and was shot once in the left upper body. Jones was rushed to the Rio Claro Health Facility where he was pronounced dead.
Yesterday, however, villagers claimed Jones was shot twice — in the left upper body and in the chest. Jones, they said, had previously been threatened by police and had become fearful for his life. Jones was shot a short distance from his home.
Eyewitness told Sunday Newsday Jones was walking through a track when a marked police jeep stopped in the roadway. There were four officers in the vehicle.
“As they (police) saw Jones walking through the track, one police jumped out and fired a shot at Jones,” said one eyewitness who did not want to be named.
Jones’ distraught brother Alexander, 43, said he was not at home at the time of the incident, but was told by eyewitness what occurred.
“My brother was shot twice. The first shot he fell to the ground, when the police shot at him from a distance, and the second shot struck him to the chest when he was lying on the ground bleeding,” a tearful Alexander related.
He said after his brother was shot the officers stood over him (Jones) talking for a few minutes.
“They knew everyone saw what they did, because there are houses around and people saw what happened exactly. After they shot my brother, he was dead already,” he said.
He said the officers then dragged his brother’s body to the vehicle.
“Two police officers were holding his hand and the other two held his feet and dragged him into the tray of the vehicle like a dog,” Alexander said.
Jones was a self-employed gardener and lived with his father and brother.
His father, Seecharan, 76, yesterday broke down in tears as he spoke of his youngest of ten children. “My son did not deserve this. No, no, no. They killed him. The police murdered my son in cold blood. This can’t be right,” Seecharan wept.
The elderly man said he last saw his son alive on Friday morning when he left home for work.
“He told me that he (Jones) was going to make a day work in the garden.”
The grieving father said he was inside his house on Friday evening when he heard two gunshots. “I looked outside and saw a police vehicle. And then I saw them carrying a man into the vehicle. I didn’t know that was my son at the time because I didn’t see the face. But then a neighbour told me it was Jones they kill. I could not and still can’t believe it,” Seecharan said.
Seecharan said his son often complained about being threatened by police.
“Even when my boy was taking extra courses those police officers never give him a chance. They would stop him and embarrass him and search him. But he stayed strong and tried to stay out of their (police) way,” Seecharan explained.
The father said three months ago he was stopped by police during a road block and they allegedly threatened his son’s life.
“These police officers looked at me and said ‘You is Nigel Jones father?’ I said yes and they told me they would shoot and kill my son,” he said.
“I questioned them why and they never replied. They just wanted my son dead and they did it. We have no rights in this country, if a police officer says he would kill you he would.”
Seecharan said officers also went to the family home when he was not there once. Jones, he said, was asleep at the time, and officers stomped on his body to wake him up.
“These police officers, I don’t know if they don’t have families. I took care of my child from birth and to have him taken away like this. I just want justice and I’m calling on the Minister of National Security Jack Warner, Police Commissioner Stephen Williams and Gillian Lucky to investigate my son’s death. Justice must be served.”
Residents in the area told Sunday Newsday if they are not satisfied with the answers given and action taken against the officers, they will step up protest action.
Questions are also being raised about the length of time it took for senior police officers to visit the scene. Although the killing took place at about 3.30 pm Friday, it was not until yesterday afternoon that a senior officer visited the scene to conduct investigations. Sunday Newsday was reliably informed that whenever a police killing occurs, a First Division officer must visit the scene as early as possible to preserve evidence. ASP Lewis of the Sangre Grande Police Station is spearheading investigations.
Yesterday’s protests were reminiscent of those held for Rio Claro groundsman George “Ozzie” Ashby, 52, who was killed by police in San Pedro on January 23, 2009. Ashby, a Maintenance Training and Security Company (MTS) employee who worked at the Tabaquite Composite School, was shot in the chest while in his car on Tabaquite Main Road. Back then, hundreds of angry villagers staged fiery protests and demanded a full-scale investigation. That investigation is yet to be completed.