Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith says there is not enough evidence to immediately suspend all 12 police officers involved in a Morvant shooting on Saturday in which three men were killed. The men were Joel Jacob, Israel Clinton and Noel Diamond.
Speaking at a press briefing at the Police Administration Building in Port of Spain on Wednesday, Griffith said he would not take sides but would deal with any police who might have breached the law during the incident.
Although Griffith repeated his stance on dealing with rogue police officers – that they should be fired – he said people could not take matters into their own hands or force him to take immediate action against the men involved.
Showing a short snippet of the 12-minute video of what happened between police and the trio on Saturday, Griffith pointed out that not all officers were seen shooting.
“We are looking at a situation with a dozen police officers and people are telling me we should fire all immediately. Suppose there were 30, 50 or 100. Am I to totally send everyone home and suspend them?”
Griffith promised to have the matter thoroughly investigated as soon as possible, saying that when the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) and police reports were finished, the necessary action would be taken. He added officers found in breach of the law would be dealt with.
Griffith said, however, that not all officers at the shooting should be held culpable.
“We don’t know how many police officers fired, who fired – or should we suspend all the other officers even though they weren’t a part of it?
"Is it that the person in the back seat drew this firearm or not? We cannot say because one person put his hands in the air everybody should be suspended.
“There is a protocol with someone placing their hands in the air. It shows he’s not resisting arrest or (is) a threat to a police officer. But is that all that took place in the video?”
Griffith described the shooting as unfortunate before noting that one of the men killed was “littered” with offences.
He added that it was worrying to see the murder of PC Allen Moseley has already been overlooked. Mosely was killed earlier on Saturday. Griffith had said previously that the deaths were unrelated.
“His head was blown off, he was killed. But there was never a protest,” Griffith said.