Anderson's family to take legal action against police
Stabroek News
January 5, 2002

The family of Toyin Anderson, who was gunned down by the police on December 22, has retained the services of attorney-at-law Joe Harmon to take legal action against the Guyana Police Force.

Anderson, 29, of Pouderoyen, West Coast Demerara was said to be one of the men wanted by the police in connection with a $1.6 million robbery on an Alexander Village cambio on the same day of his death.

The police in a release had claimed that in their attempt to apprehend Anderson he defied all attempts to surrender and engaged the police with a gun forcing them to return fire during which he was fatally wounded. However, the man's family is strongly denying the police's version and is claiming that the young man was gunned down in cold blood.

Yesterday Harmon, along with Anderson's brother, Melvin and attorney-at-law Debra Backer and Ronald Waddell, who were there as interested persons, held a press conference at King Solomon's Enterprise located at Brickdam and Austin streets.

They called for the disbandment of the police Special Target Squad and for the relevant authority to investigate the young man's death. Harmon is also calling for a coroner's inquest to be conducted.

Anderson was a key suspect in the multi-million dollar cambio robbery on America Street on September 1999. He was charged with attempted murder and robbery.

Harmon was the lawyer retained for Anderson in that matter and he said that after the preliminary inquiry was conducted the magistrate found that a prima facie case was made out against him and sent the matter to the High Court. The lawyer said that he applied to the High Court for bail for his client and one of the prerequisites for granting bail was that his client was to report to the police twice a week. The lawyer said Anderson never missed a date because he knew he would have been re-arrested if he did.

According to the lawyer, reports indicated that his client was pointed out by a member of a crowd that had gathered around the area where the bandits made three failed attempts to hijack cars. He noted that the police knew his client reported to them every week and if they wanted him in connection with the robbery they would have arrested him when he reported.

It was also said that Anderson was not dead when he was thrown into the police vehicle and Harmon pointed out that if the police had really intended to take the man for medical treatment they would have transported him to the West Demerara Regional Hospital and not travelled to Georgetown.

Backer said that extra-judicial killings were everyone's business because contrary to what the general public believed, they increased, rather then reduced the crime rate.

Melvin said that the family had eyewitness accounts of how his brother was killed. He said that the family had given Harmon the right to pursue whatever legal avenues he could in an effort to get justice for his brother's "wrongful" killing.