Probe into police shooting of teen completed

-file turned over to Police Complaints Authority

The police force yesterday announced that its internal investigation of the shooting of 15-year-old Alex Griffith by a policeman has been completed and the case file was yesterday turned over to the Chairman of the Police Complaints Authority.

In a statement, the police force announced that the Police Office of Professional Responsibili-ty had completed its investigation.

The announcement came on the heels of mounting criticism over the delay in the investigation of the shooting, which occurred on April 30. On Monday, the Guyana Human Rights Association suggested that the delay was a sign of an attempt being made to cover-up the crime.

Yesterday, Alex Griffith (left), the boy who was shot in his mouth by a police officer, received a laptop computer, television set and a DVD player compliments of the Benschop Foundation. The head of the foundation Mark Benschop made the presentation.
Yesterday, Alex Griffith (left), the boy who was shot in his mouth by a police officer, received a laptop computer, television set and a DVD player compliments of the Benschop Foundation. The head of the foundation Mark Benschop made the presentation.

Last week, Crime Chief Leslie James had said that investigators were ensuring that there was a thorough investigation. He had acknowledged that “many have expressed concerns about the amount of time that the police are taking to investigate the shooting” but stressed that conducting a thorough investigation was the main aim of the force and that it made no sense to rush and charge someone only for errors to surface when the case goes before the courts.

Griffith has identified a cadet officer as the person responsible for the shooting and picked him out during an identification parade at the Brickdam Police Station last week.

Griffith had recounted to Stabroek News how the cadet officer played Russian roulette with him while grilling him about the identities of suspects in a robbery. The boy had been detained by the officer and others after they found him at his East La Penitence squatting area home, where they turned up with questions about a robbery in which a relative of the cadet officer had been the victim.

The boy explained that he had been at a friend’s home when a robbery occurred outside.

Though he had been unable to see what had transpired, he said, two van-loads of policemen later went to his home to question him about the identities of the robbers.

He had relayed to the ranks that he was unaware of the robbers’ identities but he was nevertheless taken from his home, without his mother’s consent, and driven around the area.

The police eventually took him in front of the home of one of the suspected robbers in the East La Penitence area. However, the person was not at home.

Griffith said the accused robber’s absence apparently infuriated the cadet officer, who forced him from the police vehicle and ordered him to lie on the ground. The cadet officer, Griffith said, removed all of the bullets from a gun but subsequently replaced one. He then put the gun into the 15-year-old’s mouth.

The cadet officer, he said, continued to press him for the robbers’ identities. After not receiving an answer, the cadet officer pulled the trigger but nothing happened. Once again, he asked for the identities of the bandits and, when told by Griffith once again that he did not know, he fired a second time. This time, Griffith said, the gun went off.

He said he began to bleed badly from the mouth and one of the accompanying ranks said, “this guy bleeding bad; leh we tek him to the hospital.” He was dropped off at the hospital by the ranks who left shortly afterwards.

 

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