Unanswered questions haunt the relatives of Shane Hinds who succumbed after being shot multiple times by the police under circumstances which are still unclear, and they are voicing concern about no action being taken against the ranks involved.
When contacted recently relatives said that up until now the police at the Alberttown Police Station, the Brickdam Police Station and the Police’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) located at police headquarters, Eve Leary,have told them nothing about the investigation into the shooting and they are worried that they will be denied justice.
Stabroek News was unable to ascertain what stage the investigation has reached and according to a police official, because of the nature of the shooting it would be in the hands of the OPR. It was explained that in all instances where police conduct in the execution of duties comes under the microscope that is the first place the matter would be sent.
In the meantime, this newspaper understands that the ranks involved are conducting their normal police duties.
When this newspaper spoke with Hinds’ mother Colette Fraser, the distraught woman could not continue the conversation. Before the tears began to flow, she managed to say that until now, her son’s motorcycle remained in police custody although they had provided documentation to substantiate that it belonged to him.
At the time of the shooting which occurred in August in Thomas Street, Cummingsburg, Hinds was the pillion rider on a motorcycle. His close friend, who was the driver, fled the scene on the motorcycle following the shooting.
Vanessa Christopher later speaking on behalf of the family said that the last contact they had with police officials was during the latter part of October. She explained that they visited the OPR and after supplying their contact information the head there had promised to update them on any information that was made available to him. He never did.
Christopher said that prior to that they visited the Brickdam and Alberttown Police Stations and the officers in charge had nothing to tell them. She said that the officer in charge at the latter station was rude to them when they inquired about the investigation.
She went on to say that no one is advising them about what they should do or what ought to be done. According to Christopher the family is working on information provided by persons known to them. “Sometimes somebody does tell we go here and go there and we does go because we want justice,” she said.
The woman told Stabroek News they are unable to map out how the shooting happened. She said that they are also unaware of who exactly fired, but have been given the name of a rank who was at least present when the shooting occurred.
She said that when Hinds was shot the police did not inform relatives that it was they who had killed him. She said that they learnt from newspaper reports that the police were behind the shooting. When they turned up at the police station, she went on, they learnt for the first time that he was wanted for a series of crimes. She recalled that this was shocking to them as they knew nothing of this.
According to Christopher in July, three weeks before he was shot, Hinds was among several persons who were arrested for liming outside a wedding house. She said that he was in the lock-ups for two days and police released him after they found he had a clean record.
Crime Chief Seelall Persaud had said that Hinds was suspected of being involved in a robbery, and that on the basis of information so far received he was in the company of another man, who has not yet been identified by police.
Relatives have dismissed the police reports that Hinds was a criminal and
Christopher said that her nephew was a hard worker.
“I am disappointed in how the police are treating us,” she said, adding that from the attitude of the ranks, they didn’t care that they had taken a life and had left many relatives in grief.
She expressed the firm belief that they will get no satisfaction in relation to the death of Hinds and while this is frustrating they know that they cannot give up. At the same time, she added, they don’t know what else to do.
Christopher related how Fraser would take off from her work to go to the police for updates, only to come away empty handed.
Christopher is adamant that the friend who was with Hinds knows something about what transpired that night. She said that it was he who collected Hinds, a Mayor and City Council (M&CC) worker and a horse cart operator from his Middle Road, La Penitence home.
She said that the man who is well known to the family has severed all ties with them.
According to her some time after the shooting, police held the friend for a sexually-related offence but he was released. She said that after informing the police who he was, the man was rearrested and the police requested the family’s presence at the station. According to her statements were taken from him and them before he was again released.
“I don’t think that is fair. That was not right… He was the last person to see Shane alive,” she said, adding that since the incident the man has been threatening relatives. “He knows about my nephew‘s death, but God don’t sleep,” she said.
She said that to date there are too many outstanding questions. Following the shooting, she continued, medical personnel at the hospital told her that a gun was found in his briefs. “It could be a case that they [the police] planted it there. He wouldn’t get no chance to do that,” she said.
Christopher said that his nephew leaves behind an eight month old son and that relatives are very distraught over the death. She stressed that his mother still cries and has lots of sleepless nights.
According to the police, around 7 pm on Friday, ranks of a mobile police patrol observed two men on a motor cycle, CG 1755, trailing a motor car along Thomas Street. The police said that they “challenged” the two men, whereupon the rider opened fire with a small firearm on the police, who returned fire, hitting Hinds, the pillion rider.
This newspaper was initially told that Hinds was shot by the police more than five times while on a motorcycle. Bystander Yonette Cummings, of 271 Thomas Street, was also wounded during the shooting. Cummings was admitted to the hospital with a gunshot wound to the foot.
Hinds died days later while a patient of the Intensive Care Unit of the Georgetown Public Hospital and a post mortem examination revealed that he had sustained seven gunshot wounds.