Mary Francis Calls For Inquest After Police Involved Fatal Shooting In Laborie – St. Lucia Times

The content originally appeared on: News Americas Now

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: St. Lucia Times News

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Human Rights advocate Mary Francis has called for an inquest into the police-involved fatal shooting of Eric Thomas in Laborie during the early hours of Saturday morning.

“The details are still sketchy. The police have put out a statement. But I am saying this thing has been ongoing for the longest while – use of force, police killings,” Francis observed.

She noted that according to the police statement, the deceased shot at the police.

“This raises the issue which persons have been expressing, ‘Support the police’. Yes, support the police because we need them, they are very crucial to solving the crisis, violence and so on. But at the same time, the police, to me, have actually brought that upon themselves because of the way they have been policing in the past,” the outspoken Attorney at Law asserted.

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She spoke of corruption in the ranks, recalling that Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre had also recently spoken about that.

However, Francis lamented that nothing has happened over the years to correct lawlessness, corruption, and excessive use of police force.

At the same time, she paid tribute to veteran journalist Guy Ellis who passed away on Sunday night, describing him as a person of honesty and integrity.

“His passing is the end of an era because what we see now, (contrary to) the ideals he represented, is cause for concern,” Francis, the Coordinator of the National Centre for Legal Aid and Human Rights, asserted.

And Francis noted that the authorities have not finally resolved the reported extra-judicial killings of 2011-2012 and other deaths.

“Whenever there is a killing by the police, there must be accountability by the state because the police are agents of the state and there must be an inquest,” she observed, noting that it’s the law.

“These things are causing a negative impact on the minds of the citizens to lose confidence in the police force and they see them as more of an enemy than as a friend, a protector,” the Attorney at Law declared.

She also referred to the fifteen-year-old Boys Training Centre Ward charged with the murder of 78-year-old Marcellina Alexis.

“It was so sad to hear his mother crying out to the media about how she sent her son there, and government is to blame. Very, very true. We have had incidents of things happening there in the past, so it is a shame that something like that could happen,” Francis said.

“The state is entirely to blame and I think the relatives of the deceased lady have a very good case against the government in terms of negligence,” she noted.

Francis questioned how a young man with a particular disposition could breach BTC security and commit an offence.

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