Snr Supt Richard Smith: Oropune murders ‘total dotishness’

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Commander of the North Central Division, Snr Supt Richard Smith. –

Commander of the police North Central Division, Snr Supt Richard Smith, has described last Saturday’s altercation at Oropune Gardens, which left two people dead, as “total dotishness.”

Speaking with Newsday on Tuesday by phone, Smith said people must let good sense prevail and learn to deal with their issues in a better way rather than resorting to violence.

On March 30, Imtiaz and Imraz Mohammed were stabbed during an ongoing feud that began on Good Friday. Two other people were injured in the attack.

Eyewitnesses said the suspect first attacked the group with an ice pick before heading to his apartment, returning with a nine-inch-long knife that he used to stab Imtiaz, 46, Imraz Mohammed, 23, and a 17-year-old girl. Imtiaz died at the scene and Imraz and the 17-year-old girl were taken to hospital, where Imraz later died.

The suspect, who was locked in a nearby apartment, was arrested the same day and taken for treatment for injuries he suffered during the incident.

“We now have two people dead, two injured, and one man behind bars,” Smith said.

Smith called the incident “easily avoidable.” He said the public was quick to blame the police but had a responsibility to abide by the law.

He said the police did not need to hold a “big stick” over people’s heads, they should do what’s right.

“So if you’re having an argument that gets heated and you call the police, who do not respond immediately, people don’t have the good sense to walk away from the situation?”

He stressed the importance of communities living peacefully and finding ways to resolve issues without resorting to violence.

“Your communities are made up of people with varying customs, beliefs, and traditions. We need to respect each other.”

Smith said rather than blaming the police, the public should think about their actions.

“It’s ridiculous that people want to blame the police after the fact. Think twice before you act, instead of looking to defend bad behavior.”

He said residents of Oropune Gardens had a good relationship with police, and a few weeks earlier, officers helped arrest a man in the community who was robbing people.

The man would post items on Facebook and when victims came to the area to buy them, he would rob them.

Smith told Newsday, thanks to its location, the community benefited from patrols from two police stations.

He said the settlement fell under the Arouca police’s jurisdiction, but owing to its close proximity, Piarco police lent its support. Smith said twice a month, town meetings were held in his district, and the public there was invited to voice their concerns.

He said walkabouts were done regularly, where police gave safety tips and updated residents on police initiatives. “We invite residents to form watch groups and encourage them to join the station counsel, plus there is a very vibrant police youth club.

We have an excellent relationship with the community, especially residents of Oropune Gardens. What occurred is truly unfortunate.”