CASTRIES, St Lucia, CMC – Police Commissioner Vernon Francois has denied a cover-up in recent police killings as human rights advocate, Mary Francis, Friday described as “alarming” the killings of four bandits on Thursday.
Francis said the recent spate of killings by law enforcement officials appears to be “traditional” and that she is also worried that there have been 10 killings so far over a three month period.
On Thursday, police shot and killed four men and injured a fifth after they robbed a business place in the southern town of Vieux Fort.
“Is this the system of government that we have set up by our constitution and our laws, I would say no, this is not our tradition. Is this the legacy that we want to bequeath for our country?
“I don’t wish to be misunderstood and I am saying this at the risk of being criticized but it’s okay this is a democracy, but each and every time we have those police killings I want to repeat and request that an inquest must be held,” the attorney said.
“Yes the police go out and do their duty and they are under fire so they need to defend themselves but for this part of their duty they have to account.”
She warned that the government’s crackdown on crime, dubbed “Operation Restore Confidence” cannot restore confidence unless it also includes the duty to account.
“This is what the law requires,” she argued.
But Police Commissioner Francois said that all police killings so far have been investigated.
He said three police shootings in recent times have all been investigated adding ‘ all of these matters have been completed and have gone through the court system.
“A number of others are going through the court processes so that cases involving killings by police officers are definitive subject of a reviews and determination is made as to whether or not the action of the Police is justified,” the Commissioner said.
He noted that persons who are critical of the police and are calling for an inquest have a duty to pay close attention to the court process where these inquiries are taking place.
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