Fri | Oct 20, 2017

INDECOM: Decrease in suspicious fatal shootings

Published:Tuesday | February 28, 2017 | 12:00 AMCorey Robinson

The Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) yesterday reported a decrease in the number of suspicious fatal shootings committed by the security forces.

"These are incidents where there is some evidence that we have collected which could cause a reasonable person to believe that the state agents' actions may not have been justified," said Terrence Williams, commissioner of INDECOM.

Such cases, he said, included contradictory statements from members of the public, or the police, or scientific evidence that does align with the police's version of the shooting incidents.

In 2015, some 39 cases were deemed suspicious, while in 2016, the number was 24. This, INDECOM says, represents a 38 per cent decline in suspicious shootings and could indicate an improvement in the conduct of members of the security forces.

"A suspicious fatal shooting doesn't mean that it must end up in a charge, because the test for charging is a higher test than just suspicion. It has to be evaluated further," said Williams, as he made a distinction between cases deemed suspicious and those for which charges could be laid.

In the meantime, Williams reported that years of lobbying for more professionalism from the security forces while executing planned operations is paying off.

"In 2015, 33 planned operations were held in which death occurred and 38 persons were killed in those operations, while in 2016, there were 21 planned operations in which 28 persons were killed," said Williams.

"This represents a 26 per cent decline in the number of persons killed in planned operations."

corey.robinson@gleanerjm.com