Attorney calls for independent investigations in police-involved shootings

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – A decision recently handed down in the Coroner’s Court, which ruled that a police-involved shooting death was unlawful, has raised a number of concerns about inconsistencies and loop holes in investigations in police-involved killings, according to attorney Ramona Farquharson-Seymour.

Farquharson-Seymour was speaking specifically to the Osworth Rolle Jr. case where the Coroner’s Court said that Detective Constable 3569 Kendrick Brown unlawfully shot and killed Rolle Jr November 20, 2016.

Police reports allege that the officer chased the victim who allegedly drew a weapon – which led to the detective fatally shooting him.

“Throughout the inquest we discovered, in particular the pathologist report, that the three wounds that caused the death – two gunshot wounds to the head and one to the chest –  that all of the bullets had a downward trajectory. So, rather than being lateral which would have supported his evidence, because he claimed that he was 10 feet away and shot him, the pathologist found that all of the injuries were done by bullets which had a downward trajectory so it did not support what he had said,” the attorney explained.

In this vein, Farquharson-Seymour has called for police to consider changing the way the they handle cases of this nature in the future.

“They need to develop a proper department and procedure as to how to sanitize the scene in that removing the shooter or shooters, the police officers, from the scene and getting impartial officers who are not a part of the operation to come into the scene and investigate,” she suggested.

The victim’s family celebrated after the decision handed down by the court on Tuesday.

Christine Rolle, the victim’s mother, said it was a long and tedious process; but worth it.

“Justice is served,” she said.

“I was happy, but I really don’t have words to express how I felt yesterday.

“It was a prayer answered.”

The victim’s mother described him as a loving son and said his untimely death has left the family feeling empty.

Kendall Rolle, the victim’s father, sought to clear his sons name yesterday.

“Our son was not a gangbanger and wasn’t involved in any problems, he was not known to police and he had a clean record,” he said.

“I want the world to know that he was a good boy.”

The coroner’s recommendation will be sent to the Attorney General’s office and the Director of Public Prosecutions will determine if the case will proceed to the magistrate’s court for a criminal trial.

In the interim, the family confirmed yesterday that they are reviewing the possibility of pursuing private prosecution.