Barbadian family and attorney conduct own investigation into fatal police shooting
System of having the police investigate themselves is flawed says lawyer David Comissiong.
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Wednesday May 16, 2012 – In a landmark move in Barbados, a bereaved family and an attorney-at-law are conducting their own investigation into the death of a man fatally shot by a police officer.
In a public announcement, lawyer and social activist David Comissiong and the mother of 27-year-old Jamar Maynard, shot by police on April 3, said they no longer had confidence in the Royal Barbados Police Force investigating its officers, since no such case had ever led to an officer standing trial.
They also reported the evidence was clear that Maynard had been shot from behind, which was enough to demand that the shooter account for his or her action in court.
Accompanied by Maynard’s mother Deborah Maynard and Marguerita Maloney, mother of I’Akobi Maloney, who died following an incident involving police four years ago, Comissiong told the media that an independent investigation seemed prudent.
“Faced with a situation of the Royal Barbados Police Force investigating itself, we felt it prudent that Jamar’s family should seek to carry out their own independent investigation, and so we have taken it upon ourselves to try to ferret out eyewitnesses and to get statements from persons who might have seen anything related to the shooting of Jamar,” he said.
The attorney pleaded for anyone who might have seen or heard anything related to the matter on the night of Tuesday April 03 to contact him.
“We are appealing to you to make contact with us, come in to see me at my law office on Crumpton Street and give us a statement. We assure you that any statement given will be dealt with in the strictest confidence and will be sent directly to the Director of Public Prosecutions,” he said.
Stating that Maynard had been shot in his upper arm and had run from the scene, Comissiong said so far he had interviewed two eyewitnesses who said the man was shot while running away.
“We also witnessed the autopsy and I can tell you that the wound I saw on Jamar Maynard’s body suggests that he was shot from the rear,” he added.
“We are of the opinion that once there is sufficient evidence to suggest that Jamar Maynard was shot while he was running away, that the person who did that shooting should be called upon to account for his or her actions before a judge and jury in a court of law,” Comissiong continued.
“Our police force is a small and intimate institution where everybody knows everybody else. So that clearly is not the most healthy situation, and I’m not seeking to cast aspersions on the persons running the Jamar Maynard investigation. I’m not personalizing it.
“I’m simply saying the system that obtains of having the police investigate themselves is flawed,” said Comissiong, an attorney for over two decades.