THE mother of Akel “Christmas” James yesterday insisted that the police had murdered her son in cold blood and she would leave no stone unturned in her quest for justice.
“I will leave no stone unturned, I will use every option available to me,” vowed Keisha James. “Because his killing was unjust. The police used excessive force. They didn’t have to do that, they could have arrested him,” she added.
James, 23, was fatally shot at his Calvary Hill home during the pre-dawn hours on Monday in what police said was a case of a shootout when they arrived to execute a search warrant on James’ house for arms and ammunition. James later died at Port of Spain General Hospital. His death sparked violent protests by East Port of Spain residents.
Speaking at the Forensic Science Centre in St James, James said a man witnessed the police shooting her son. At the time, James said, she was asleep in her house which is across the street from James’ home. She said the witness claimed that police made James kneel on the ground and moments later, gunshots rang out. The witness ran with police chasing behind him. But he escaped.
James said her son got the nickname “Christmas” as he was due to be born just before Christmas Day. “His aunt said he was coming like Christmas and since then the name stuck with him,” said James. He was the eldest of her four children. She said that after James did a stint in prison, he was a changed man especially when he became a father three years ago with the birth of his daughter Peyton.
James said she supported the protests by East Port of Spain residents adding, “If they go out and protest again, I will be with them. This killing was an injustice and police need to stop advantaging people here.” She said the police dare not go to Westmoorings, Valsayn or Maraval and terrorise people living in those communities.
“Why is only in the hood these things happening,” she asked. James said she will lodge a report with the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) regarding her son’s death. An autopsy later confirmed James died as a result of multiple gunshot wounds.