KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, March 19, IWN – The leadership of the Police Force may find themselves facing charges if they continue to defy the Director of Public Prosecutions’ (DPP) orders to charge three of their colleagues in connection with a “friendly fire” shooting last year.
I-Witness News understands that up to Monday police were yet to lay charges against Sergeant Julius Morgan and Constables Orlando Collins and Adrian Forde of the Criminal Investigation Department, as DPP Colin Williams had instructed.
The pending charges stem from a shooting in Rose Place, Kingstown, on Dec. 5, 2012, that left Corporal Milford Edwards with an injured shoulder.
I-Witness News was reliably informed that Milford has lost use of the shoulder and needs surgery to replace at least one of its joints.
The office of the DPP said in a March 11 press statement that the DPP had written to Commissioner of Police Keith Miller instructing him to charge Sergeant Morgan with unlawful and malicious wounding, unlawful discharge of a firearm, excessive use of force and acting in a manner so rash or negligent as to be likely to cause harm.
Constables Collins and Forde were also to be charged with conspiracy to defeat the course of justice.
Police told the media in December that their investigations concluded that the shooting was a “friendly fire” incident.
But I-Witness News understands that there are inconsistencies in the police’s reports on the incident and forensic findings.
Meanwhile, the Office of the DPP said in the release that his office thoroughly reviewed the statements given after the shooting and decided to press charges after applying the Full Code Test.
I-Witness News understand that the DPP is inclined to act on the section of the Criminal Code that allows his to indict the police high command, including the Commissioner of Police.
I-Witness News further understands that there appears to be repeated defiance by the police command to lay charges against their colleagues when instructed to do so.
In 2010, police released from their custody an officer who the DPP has instructed be charged with murder in connection with the shooting death of another police officer inside a police station.
The police said then that at the time of releasing the officer, they had not seen a document ordering the charges but had read in the newspaper a report quoting the DPP as saying he intended to bring the charge.
The police did not contact the DPP before releasing the officer, who later pleaded guilty to manslaughter.
I-Witness News also understands that police lethargy resulted in one of their colleagues, who was being investigated for sexual abuse of his 8-year-old daughter, leaving the country.
“… sometimes, people have a way when they are investigating matters, they want to keep things under their belt, so to speak. Based on what the investigators said, they wanted to do the groundwork first, but it seems that word got out … and the policeman got word of that and he [fled],” Commissioner Miller told I-Witness News on Feb. 17 of the officer, who reports say, also infected his daughter with a sexually transmitted disease.
Miller is currently attending the United Nations Final Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty in New York.
The 10-day conference began on Monday.