CoP: Full-scale probe launched into deaths of 2 persons in police custody

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CoP: Full-scale probe launched into deaths of 2 persons in police custody

Commissioner of Police, Gary Griffith, says that a full-scale investigation is being conducted into the circumstances surrounding the deaths of suspects Andrew Morris and Joel Balcon while in police custody.

The CoP says that apart from the TTPS conducting an investigation, the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) is presently conducting a parallel probe. The two persons were suspects into the kidnap and subsequent death of Andrea Bharatt, 23, a clerk of the Arima Magistrates’ Court who went missing on January 29th. Her decomposed body was found down a precipice at the Heights of Aripo on February 4th.

Commissioner Griffith has taken note of the many comments being made by persons who do not have the facts. “People are reaching a final conclusion without knowing what has transpired. We are doing a thorough investigation both by the Police Service and the PCA. For persons to be making false and misleading accusations, it is not helping the situation in any way. It is inappropriate for people to be making accusations and who by their accusations, have already found police officers guilty without getting the facts. These would include the Law Association, an Opposition Senator, and a person who received one percent of the votes in an area he contested in an election. I have heard comments about a prisoner dying after falling from a chair. At no time did any police officer or myself, say that an individual died because he fell from a chair. That never took place.”

The CoP says what we do know as a fact was the excellent work done by the various units of the TTPS in the way they conducted the investigations by finding the four persons responsible for the kidnap and death of Ms Bharatt, and they should be commended. He points out that no one has asked about the well-being of the officers who were injured when they went to arrest suspects in this matter. The CoP has also taken note that a newspaper published over the weekend that they have video footage of an incident relating to this matter. He says at this time, the TTPS has no such video footage. He is asking anyone with information who can assist in this matter to come forward and present it to the TTPS.

Commissioner Griffith says his track record speaks for itself, in that there will be no cover-up. He notes that since he became Commissioner of Police in August 2018, 96 police officers were charged with various offences including kidnapping, human trafficking, robbery with aggravation and assault, while another 86 were suspended.