Former cop, Norbert Williams, has been speaking on the police shooting yesterday of a young motorcyclist at Babonneau.
The biker, identified as Rick Sebastien of Paix Bouche, is reported to have been shot by an officer in plain clothes.
According to news reports, the young biker had collided with the officer’s vehicle and failed to stop even when called upon to do so by the law enforcement official, who shot him in the leg.
Some reports indicate that the officer subsequently slapped the wounded youth as he lay on the ground.
Reports about the incident have created a firestorm in the social media with some persons criticizing the police officer for using excessive force, while others have sided with the lawman.
Former police officer, Norbert Williams, added his voice to the debate today in a telephone call to Radio Caribbean International (RCI) during the station’s Newsspin call-in programme.
Williams, who served in the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force (RSLPF) between 1984 and 1990, made his contribution shortly after a caller, who identified himself as a retired officer, justified the shooting of the biker.
“The police force right now is beleaguered with enough woes and problems for these types of statements to be made as having been a former police officer and possibly indicating that there are others who share those same sentiments,” Williams noted.
He described as ‘absolute garbage’ the statements that were made.
Williams,who served in the SSU, Immigration and other Departments of the RSLPF, explained that the circumstances under which a person can be shot by a police officer are well described within the law.
He disagreed with the caller who had identified himself as a former cop that a court has to render judgement to know whether the discharge of a firearm was within the law and according to regulations in the police force.
“According – and I have to be very particular with this; according to the information coming out from the incident which occurred yesterday, I have not heard any information which indicates that the person who collided with the police vehicle or the vehicle which the gentleman was driving, or scraped the vehicle or came into contact with it in any way and subsequently fleeing should have been shot,” Williams stated.
He expressed the view that maybe there might be other information regarding the shooting victim.
However Williams said according to the information received, nothing suggests that the shooting was warranted.
“The information from the witnesses who indicated that after the individual was shot and fell on the ground he was assaulted by this police officer in plain clothes, plainly this is not correct,” he declared, adding that to suggest that someone can be shot just because that person is fleeing is ‘absolute rubbish.”
“This is absolute madness,” Williams told RCI.
He said nobody’s life was in danger.
Earlier a caller to Newsspin, quoting from the Criminal Code of Saint Lucia, had said that the use of such force was justified in preventing someone who was about to or in the process of committing an indictable offence.
However Williams said that colliding with a vehicle or being in a vehicle accident on the roadway with a motorcycle was not an indictable offence – a case that is brought before a jury.
“Let’s hear this thing play out there and get more details on this, but from what we know right now there was absolutely no justification for the person being shot,” the former cop said.
Williams, who is also the Communications Officer Speak Out Saint Lucia (S.O.S) which advocates on behalf of victims of sexual abuse, child molestation, incest and rape, made clear that he was speaking in a private capacity.