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Police shooting under probe after Morvant protest

By Ryan Hamilton-Davis and Nalinee Seelal Friday, June 6 2014

The police shooting death of a 21-year-old man in Mon Repos, Morvant yesterday triggered outrage among residents who claim the father of one was wrongfully killed.

Chaquille Mc Coy died at Port-of-Spain General Hospital after he was shot by police, angering residents who burnt debris in protest.

Assistant Commissioner of Police Carlton Alleyne has ordered an investigation into the incident.

Reports are that between 9.30 am and 10.30 am, officers of the North Eastern Division Task Force were pursuing armed suspects believed to be on their way to commit a crime against a woman whose young sons, nine and 15, were gunned down last Sunday. The officers had an exchange of gunfire with the suspects, wounding one who was taken to hospital and died. The dead man was identified as Mc Coy.

Residents deny the police account and said Mc Coy, working for a contractor, was in a drain which was under repair at Mon Repos Road. Police officers arrived in a vehicle and shot Mc Coy in front of co-workers.

Sean Joseph, who said he was a contractor undertaking the job for the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure, said Mc Coy was cutting steel when the police drove up.

“It happened at about half past nine. I put out my hacksaw, and had him chopping some steel in the drain for someone to bend the binders. As I turned my back a jeep just pulled up to the man and just started to blaze shots at him. They shot him in front of everybody. Everybody saw it,” Joseph said. “He was working for me and his back was turned. He was in the drain chopping up steel, what could he possibly be doing in the drain? The police just walked up and buss shots just so. They didn’t ask any questions or nothing. And there are innocent people standing around. Little children walk up and down this street all the time. You can’t just be licking shots just so,” Joseph declared.

Angry residents and relatives demanded justice, with some relatives claiming the officers who shot Mc Coy were protected by other officers. “Look around you it’s the same Morvant Police and North Eastern Division Task Force men who out here now. So we are asking for help. We want justice,” a relative said.

The relative further disclosed the family was grieving his mother’s recent murder.

“My mother got killed just the other day, she was stabbed and killed in Port-of-Spain. So my family tree is shortening every year. And it’s not to say that Chaquille was a bad boy or anything. His life just start,” he said.

Relatives said Mc Coy was a DJ and a father of a six-month-old girl, Shakira. Residents and relatives said Coy was a respectable member of the community, who was wrongfully suspected of having a firearm on a television show, because of an altercation he had the year before.

Mc Coy’s mother, Marsha Mc Coy, told reporters he loved music and football.

“Let me tell you something about where he comes from. If he wanted to take the bad road he could have taken it. He had some stumbles yes, but he changed his life; and to hear that from that, he was trying to keep out of trouble, and they still come for him and this is how he died? That is hurtful. That is just hurtful,” Marsha said.

The distraught woman complained about an officer who harasses them in the area.

“He is a wild man. He comes here and carries on crazy. That is not police work. Police supposed to protect and investigate. They not supposed to intimidate and come and kill,” said Marsha.

The number of police killings now stands at 24. ACP Alleyne yesterday said based on reports submitted to him, “at about 10.15 am officers of the North Eastern Division Task Force based at the Morvant Police Station responded to a report with respect to a man armed with a firearm at Mon Repos, Morvant. Officers responded immediately and confronted the man who on seeing the officers, opened fire on them prompting officers to return fire. The man was fatally shot and officers recovered a .38 revolver with four live ammunition and four spent shells were also recovered.”

In response to claims the man was wrongfully killed, Alleyne said an investigator will be appointed to probe the shooting death.

“I also want to ask those persons who are making allegations to come forward and assist the investigator by providing statements or any bit of evidence to bring closure to this probe,” he said.

He assured any complaint against police officers will be thoroughly investigated in the interest of transparency.

“People will be given the opportunity to come forward and I hope they co-operate with the police,” he said.

Asked by Newsday if McCoy had any criminal record, Alleyne said he was still awaiting a report from the criminal records office to verify this. He also revealed that the gun found will be sent to the Forensic Science Centre, St James for ballistic tests to determine if it was used in any crime.

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