Saturday, March 17, 2018

Protest heating up again...cops, soldiers prepare for trouble

Police and soldiers in Port of Spain on Monday afternoon. Photo: GYASI GONZALES

Fiery protests resumed in east Port of Spain on Monday afternoon and residents are claiming that another man has been shot by police.

Roads were blockaded on Monday as residents protested the shooting death of Akeil James, also known as “Christmas”.

James was killed in a shootout with police.

But police stated that the situation was brought under control at around midday. The debris was cleared and roads reopened.

However, residents claim that at around 3p.m officers moved into Bath Street and shot a man on the roadway.

People look on as Bath Street residents, Port of Spain set fire debris in protest over a police shooting on Monday.

The residents claimed the 37-year-old man was not armed and did not pose a threat to the officer. They said he was walking home when the incident occurred.

The wounded man was taken to the Port of Spain General Hospital.

The second shooting triggered residents to block Bath Street with burning debris.

Police are also investigating video footage of a garbage truck dumping trash in the middle of the roadway earlier in the day.

The truck driver was stopped by the protesters and instructed to empty the contents on the roadway.




The police issued the following statement at 5p.m detailing its plan to maintain the peace.

Police and army are continuing to maintain a heavy presence in East Port of Spain following several bursts of angry protests and the burning of debris across some streets, in the aftermath of a police involved shooting, at Calvary Hill, East Dry River, around 3:45 am today.

Members of the Inter-Agency Task Force had attempted to execute a search warrant for firearms and ammunition on premises located at Calvary Hill, when they were fired upon by the occupant of the house.  

There was a return of gunfire and the suspect was struck. The assailant, identified as AKEL ISIAH JAMOL JAMES, aka ‘Christmas’, 25, was taken to the Port of Spain General Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.  

A Glock 45 pistol and seven rounds of ammunition were recovered at the scene. 

James, whose address was also listed as Basilon Street, East Dry River, was on 19 charges including for possession of firearm and ammunition, possession of cocaine and robbery with violence. He had two convictions in 2013 and 2015, for larceny and common assault. 

In accordance with standard operating procedure where there has been a police involved shooting, the Professional Standards Bureau is mandated to investigate the circumstances surrounding the incident. ASP (Ag.) Roger Gould is the appointed investigator in the death of James. 

At around 6:00 am today, police and army personnel were called out to East Port of Spain, to quell disturbances and remove debris that had been strewn across several streets in the wake of the shooting incident.  

The joint contingent, using heavy equipment, had to clear several streets of debris including Observatory; Bath; Oxford; Quarry, Basilon, Charlotte and Piccadilly.  There was a second round of protests and burning of debris on Piccadilly, Oxford and Besson Streets, around 2:00pm - which had to be cleared - as protesters played a dangerous game of cat and mouse with police. 

Akiel Baisden, 39, who is a deaf mute, had to be transported to the Port of Spain General Hospital in a passing police vehicle, after being shot in the left leg. Baisden was said to be walking along Riley Street, East Dry River, around 3:30pm, when he was shot. 

There remains a heavy police-army presence in East Port of Spain and patrols along the Lady Young Road, Morvant and the Beetham Highway have been increased.