Police version of Brian King's death is absurd
Stabroek News
January 12, 2002

Dear Editor,

Another young man has died as a direct result of the actions of a member of the Guyana Police Force. Brian King was allegedly wanted by the police for investigations into a report of assault, which had been made against him. It was considered as being a matter of such supreme importance that he be urgently interviewed by the police, that notwithstanding the existence of a lengthy list of reports of serious crimes which were awaiting attention; the police found it possible to pay two visits to the home of that young man in pursuit of his arrest.

Apparently, upon returning to the police station with his colleague, after they had paid the first visit to King' s home, the policeman who eventually shot King in the mouth, armed himself with a gun, and made a second, unaccompanied call upon the home of the now deceased.

The upshot of that encounter was that King suffered a bullet becoming lodged at the back of his throat and eventually succumbing, sometime after being released from a period of hospitalisation.

Whereupon, the Commissioner of Police, appearing before the national media, gave a version of the events leading up to the wounding of King, which only the extremely credulous could find it possible to believe. His primary objective however, as is usual in these matters, was to ensure that the public was satisfied that King's death was justified.

For instance, this commissioner asked his hearers to believe that King ran out of his house, carrying nothing less than a cutlass in the waist band of his trousers and issued no threat to the attendant police rank who was waiting at his doorway to arrest him.

It may be asked, how did he get past that rank? Did the rank just stand aside and let the deceased pass? What was the rank doing while the deceased was negotiating the stairway to the ground in his alleged bid to escape, he being properly armed?

To even the most infantile mind, it must be quite clear that the commissioner's narration was nothing but a clear attempt at the distillation, relocation and opportunistic suppression of facts.

Rare indeed would be the bird or beast who, in his lair, prowls around armed to the teeth. King's home must have been an innately antagonistic environment for him to be armed whilst there.

It is well known, that behind his own fence, every dog believes he is and behaves as though he were a lion. That being so, would it not be more reasonable to expect that any attack on the policeman would have been launched while he was at King's home?

Evidence available suggests that the facts in this matter are as follows:

(1) The policeman went to the home of the deceased and arrested him there. The deceased left with the policeman after some initial protest.

(2) That the deceased was shot about one hundred metres away from his home. Having protested against the policeman's manhandling him, the deceased scuffled

with the policeman. The policeman pushed his weapon, which he had in his hand throughout the scuffle, into the face of the deceased, who stopped resisting him at that point. It was only after he had stopped resisting, the policeman's weapon lying against his throat, at its juncture with his jaw, that King was shot.

(3) That at no time in his efforts to keep hold of King, did the policeman feel any need to ask for assistance from bystanders. He always had the upper hand in the affray. But, the policeman was so emotionally unbalanced that after shooting the deceased, he could not even locate the entrance to the yard of the hotel, just ten metres west of the incident. The owner of the hotel had to show him the gate and then had to actually make the call to the police authorities which resulted in other police ranks coming upon the scene.

The shooting was entirely unnecessary. The dead man had stopped resisting after he sensed, maybe because of the things he was saying, that the policeman really intended to do him harm.

There are eyewitnesses who have spoken to the police about what happened.

Some have been threatened with maledictory visitations by the police. Guests who were at the hotel on Charles Street, almost in front of which the actual shooting took place, for obvious reasons preferred to remain anonymous, though several told investigating ranks exactly what they saw.

The police know the truth regarding that event and they know that the policeman's conduct was, at best unprofessional and at worst, criminally negligent.

The commissioner has been in policing long enough, in one capacity or another, to know when he is being shown, the short end of the stick. One must therefore be concerned about the role which he has opted to play in this affair: He has apparently forgotten, as has been said, that both the terrorist and the policeman come from the same basket.

Being protective of the reputation of the Guyana Police Force does not, or ought not to mean the abrogating of the rules of justice and fair play. Or the repression of conscience.

It should mean standing firmly in defense of those principles, since their maintenance is what the institution of the police is supposed to be all about.

Yours faithfully,

CRB Edwards