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Fiery protest in east Port-of-Spain

By COREY CONNELLY Sunday, June 22 2014

click on pic to zoom in
An armed Northern Division Task Force officer stands guard as siblings Jeal and Jeremiah St John fill bottles of water from an open water well on Lave...
An armed Northern Division Task Force officer stands guard as siblings Jeal and Jeremiah St John fill bottles of water from an open water well on Lave...

Outraged residents of East Port-of-Spain yesterday blocked areas along the Laventille Road with old car tyres, appliances and debris to protest what they claimed was yet another case of police brutality.

And, they are threatening heightened protest action if justice does not prevail.

From as early as 6 am, the angry residents ventured to several parts of the busy Laventille Road dumping old tree branches, barrels and other items, following the death of Keshorn Daniel, early yesterday, allegedly at the hands of police.

Daniel, 19, of Desperlie Crescent, Laventille, was reportedly gunned down by officers of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) at about 12.35 am yesterday.

Reports are that the IATF officers were on surveillance patrol in the area when they claimed that the man opened fire on them. The officers returned fire, shooting Daniel in the upper body. He died minutes after being rushed to the Port-of-Spain General Hospital. Police later recovered a .40 calibre pistol at the scene.

Police said a soldier assigned to the TT Regiment was also shot twice in the exchange of gunfire. He is said to be in a stable condition at the Port-of-Spain General Hospital.

Police said the residents, from the Rose Hill area and its environs, became enraged and later began blocking the road with old, discarded items, to protest the killing.

The fiery protest prevented the flow of traffic from the community into the capital city and some residents even had to walk to Port-of-Spain to get to their workplaces and other destinations.

When Sunday Newsday visited the scene yesterday, thick, black smoke was still billowing from several areas along the roadway in which debris was strewn.

A tractor, driven by a Port-of-Spain City Corporation employee, cleared the debris from the Belgrade Street intersection along the Laventille Road and other areas as heavily-armed police and army personnel monitored the exercise.

Residents, some peering through open windows and burglar-proofed doors, stood tensely but openly voiced their concerns about the spate of alleged police killings in East Port-of-Spain.

“Crime could never done because all yuh killing out the youths,” one angry barebacked youth shouted to the police. “This cyah done here.”

Residents echoed the youth’s sentiments and called for National Security Minister Gary Griffith to be removed.

By noon, the main roadway was cleared. Investigations are continuing.

Port-of-Spain South MP Marlene Mc Donald could not be reached for comment.

Yesterday’s early morning killing came hours after two other men, believed to be in their late 20s from Laventille, were also shot dead while liming with friends at Picton Road.

Just recently, Director of the Police Complaints Authority (PCA), Gillian Lucky, complained about the refusal of police to comply with PCA directives to help in unravelling suspected file cases of fatal police shootings.

Lucky said the situation has led to a breakdown in law and order within the rank and file of the Police Service.

She also expressed concern that the detection rate for murders was nine percent, noting that this was the situation some ten years ago. There have been 26 police killings for the year, 19 of which fell within the remit of the organisation.

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