Human Rights Activist, Mary Francis, has expressed concern about the latest fatal police shooting and has called for a prompt, independent investigation.
“We want the result of the investigation into this latest homicide in a matter of almost two, three weeks,” she told the Times.
Francis says the police must become accountable.
“These things are happening too frequently,” she stated.
She referred to eyewitness reports relating to the latest fatal police shooting.
Francis said the reports indicated that the victim was running away at the time.
“How can you shoot somebody who is running away? People run away because they are afraid of the police. Great fear when you see those SSU people with their big guns,” Francis said.
She said as far as she understands, the constitution says that only in cases of indictable offences the police can shoot under those circumstances.
Francis said she did not hear that the deceased was armed.
Thirty-nine year old Yves Rene, a resident of Fond Mange, Marigot, succumbed to injuries sustained during a shooting incident involving the police on Sunday, January 8, 2017.
“This has been happening for so long and in the aftermath of IMPACS I am surprised that it is still happening,” Mary Francis told the Times.
She recalled that last year new guidelines on the use of force by the police were adopted.
“I am wondering whether those officers, especially the SSU, are really aware of the guidelines and the various levels of force. It states six levels in the guidelines,” the outspoken Attorney at Law observed, adding that the use of deadly force is a last resort.
As far as Francis was concerned, the situation raises the issue of compliance with the guidelines for the use of force.
She reiterated concerns about the Coroner’s Inquest.
“It is true that it is the duty of the police to investigate crime, but this is an unusual situation – when the state is involved through the actions of the police and a citizen loses his life, there is supposed to be a level of independence and arms length investigation,” Francis declared.
She said the Coroner’s Act needs to be amended and reinforced.
“We need to have an independent Coroner’s office right now with investigative ability, because when you have the police doing the investigation they can sanitise things and so forth – I am speaking from my experience and background,” the Human Rights Activist told the Times.