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Careless cops to face charges - INDECOM to act against police involved in training school mishap which left one cop dead

Published:Monday | January 13, 2014 | 12:00 AM

 Corey Robinson, Staff Reporter

The Independent Commission of Investigation (INDECOM) seems set to bring charges against members of the police force involved in the fatal shooting of one of their own and the wounding of five other police personnel in a training school mishap last January.

INDECOM told The Gleaner last week that it has just one more step to take before it publicly reveals the long-overdue report on an incident that left 20-year-old Constable Ricardo McKenzie dead and his colleagues nursing gunshot wounds.

After an almost year-long probe, INDECOM's senior public relations officer, Kahmile Reid, said the body was in dialogue with the police's Bureau of Special Investigations (BSI) to decide on a date to arrest those involved.

"Equally important as it relates to the delay is the fact that the commission has an arrangement with the BSI as it relates to arresting police officers," Reid said in response to last week's exposé by The Sunday Gleaner.

"We arrest and charge with the assistance of the BSI," explained Reid.

"Warrants are secured through the courts by INDECOM. Following this, the BSI arranges for the officers' attendance at the police station, where they are disarmed and arrested under warrant by INDECOM. Then they are taken before the courts," added Reid.

a pragmatic approach

She said such a partnership between the two agencies was a pragmatic approach to arresting police personnel and to ensuring that they attend court.

According to INDECOM, until the charges are laid against those implicated, it can neither reveal the findings of its investigation nor disclose the charges that could be laid against them.

In the meantime, Reid said INDECOM has made recommendations in its report regarding compensation for McKenzie's family and the injured officers.

The latter, she said, have already been advised to pursue civil remedies in order to seek compensation for themselves and families.

The nation awoke on January 31, 2013, to news that McKenzie and five of his colleagues had been shot during a training session at the Tactical Training Village at the police training school in Twickenham Park, St Catherine.

The incident sparked public criticism and allegations of a cover-up, even from Police Commissioner Owen Ellington.

Almost one year later, McKenzie's family has grown frustrated because of the long wait to find out how live rounds reached into the area and to receive compensation for his death.