New video emerges in Morvant police killing

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A second disturbing video has surfaced on social media of events which took place after police shot and killed three men on June 27, in Second Caledonia, Morvant.

It has sparked new criticism in comments online from people who have watched the 39-second clip.

The video, which appeared to have been recorded by a home security camera, from in front, shows the actions of police from a different angle, seconds after the shooting incident.

It appears to contradict the officers’ report on where the victims were when they were shot.

It will likely be useful in the Police Complaints Authority probe of the circumstances which led to the deaths of the three men at the hands of a team of highly-trained officers assigned to the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) and the Guard and Emergency Branch.

The video shows police dragging what appear to be the dead bodies of two of the men from the car. A third man is seen lying at the side of the road behind the car.

Police involved in the shooting said in their official report that they took the injured men to hospital in the back of one of the jeeps. Doctors declared them dead on arrival.

A separate investigation is being carried out the police service’s own internal affairs unit, the Professional Standards Bureau (PSB), headed by an assistant superintendent.

The PSB has obtained video footage from a third security camera from yet another angle, overlooking the scene from the left side of the road, sources said.

On Monday, Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith sent seven of the officers, who were assigned to IATF, on administrative leave for three months in the first instance. Those officers, he said, would have fired their weapons. Eleven others who were part of the operation have been assigned to desk duty.

The decision to suspend them followed a recommendation from the PCA and pleas from the relatives of the dead men so that the two investigations can be carried out without the perception of being influenced by the officers whose conduct is being probed.

The contents of a longer and clearer video triggered an explosion of protest, starting hours after the shootings, by people in communities including Morvant, Beetham, Sea Lots, Cocorite, Maloney and East Port of Spain.

That video showed three police jeeps driving past a gold Nissan Tiida on Juman Drive. The jeeps stopped suddenly and several officers with their weapons pointed ran to the car.

One of the men, later identified as Joel Jacobs, got out of the back seat with his hands in the air. There appeared to be a conversation between some of the officers and Jacobs.

Other officers seemed to be talking to the driver, later identified as Israel Clinton, who also had both hands raised while he sat in the car.

As the right back window of the car was lowered, there was a sudden burst of fire from police officers.

Clinton was seen slumped in the driver’s seat and it appeared that police also shot at Jacobs, who was behind the car. The third man, Noel Diamond, was killed in the back seat.

Police reported Jacobs had reached for a gun, which they said they found on the back seat, and that prompted them to open fire.

That video showed an officer apparently retrieving bullet casings from the road and another reversing the car, which had rolled forward.

During the protests, residents complained of years of abuse by police. They also said the Morvant incident was not isolated and called for independent investigations into several other fatal shootings.

The sometimes violent clashes, which saw police using tear gas, batons and on occasion gunfire to disperse the crowds, led to the arrests of over 60 people. Some were charged with breaching the covid19 regulations of gathering in groups larger than 25.

The CoP said the protests were orchestrated by criminal gangs in a plot to destabilise the country. National Security Minister Stuart Young said politicians were also behind the plot.

Five days after the killing, the Prime Minister, the chair of the National Security Council, speaking publicly for the first time since the public outrage over the police killings, appointed a  recovery committee to look into the issues raised by residents in the depressed communities many have labelled criminal hotspots.

Rowley called on the PCA to expedite its probe, but at the same time criticised it for not functioning as it should.
The PCA is the only independent body which examines allegations of police misconduct.

The post New video emerges in Morvant police killing appeared first on Trinidad and Tobago Newsday.

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