Trinidad sees alarming spike in police-related killings in 2019


As po­lice con­front a sus­tained wave of vi­o­lent crime in Trinidad and Tobago, some 23 peo­ple have been killed in of­fi­cer-in­volved shoot­ings this year, a 64% in­crease over a sim­i­lar pe­ri­od in 2018. The 23 fa­tal­i­ties oc­curred in 14 of­fi­cer-in­volved shoot­ings, ac­cord­ing to the Po­lice Com­plaints Au­thor­i­ty. Over a sim­i­lar pe­ri­od in 2018, some 14 peo­ple were killed in 11 shoot­ings in­volv­ing po­lice of­fi­cers.

Two in­ci­dents in the last sev­er­al days -in Care­nage and En­ter­prise- have trig­gered a de­bate about whether po­lice are be­ing too heavy-hand­ed in deal­ing with sus­pects. This al­le­ga­tion is of­ten times lev­elled by the same peo­ple who ask po­lice to help stamp out crime and crim­i­nals in their neigh­bour­hoods.

In one high-pro­file in­ci­dent that war­rant­ed a vis­it by Prime Min­is­ter Dr Kei­th Row­ley, three peo­ple were killed and four oth­ers, in­clud­ing a po­lice of­fi­cer, were wound­ed last Fri­day dur­ing a shootout be­tween West­ern Di­vi­sion of­fi­cers and res­i­dents of Big Yard, Care­nage. Res­i­dents said 14-year-old Nao­mi Nel­son was killed and the PM’s God­son was among those in­jured. Some Care­nage res­i­dents point­ed fin­gers at a so-called rogue po­lice of­fi­cer whom they said was re­spon­si­ble for Fri­day’s in­ci­dent. They claimed that the po­lice were worse than crim­i­nals.(Trinidad Guardian)…[+]