Police kill 3 in Moruga: ‘Justice not in the road’

‘Justice not in the road’

By Cecily Asson
July 31, 2011 – newsday.co.tt

Moruga ProtestShortly after a candle ritual and a two-mile peace walk in Moruga to mark the end of several days of fiery protests over police killings of three friends on July 22, the funeral for the first victim was held in San Fernando yesterday.

Alana Duncan, 27, of Duncan Village, San Fernando was given a tearful send off by close friends and relatives at the St Paul’s Anglican Church, San Fernando in a one hour service officiated by Canon Francis Caesar.

Scores of mourners could not hold back their tears when at the end of the service, the large brown casket was opened for a final viewing of Duncan. They took turns to kiss her goodbye before she was later laid to rest at the Roodal Cemetery, San Fernando.

Duncan’s friends Keron Fernando Eccles, 29, of Moruga Main Road, Moruga and Abigail Johnson, 20, of Burton Trace, Moruga are expected to buried later this week.

It was two Fridays ago, that Eccles, Johnson and Duncan were travelling in a car driven by Duncan when it was reported that police officers of the San Fernando Robbery Squad intercepted the vehicle. Police report the occupants opened fire on the officers who returned fire, killing the three friends.

Eyewitnesses have denied the police account saying the three friends were innocent victims. Their deaths sparked outrage in the Moruga community and led to daily protests in which villagers called for justice, blocked roads and set fires.

On Thursday, Commissioner of Police Dwayne Gibbs, Deputy Commissioner Jack Ewatski and Supt Irwin Hackshaw met with the families of Eccles and Johnson at St Mary’s Government Primary School, Moruga. The relatives were dissatisfied with the outcome and said their demands for the removal of investigator Supt Donald Denoon, a former head of the Southern Division, the suspension of the officers and financial assistance and counselling, were not met.

The next day, they met with Director of the Police Service Complaints Authority Gillian Lucky, who gave them the assurance that justice will be served. Lucky and her team paid a personal visit to the homes of Eccles and Johnson’s families. Afterward, the families were told that Denoon was replaced by Assistant Police Commissioner Raymond Craig as the investigator. Counselling and financial assistance were also arranged by Moruga/Tableland MP Clfton De Coteau.

From around 9.30 am, relatives and friends of Eccles and Johnson braved heavy showers and gathered at the spot where they and Duncan were killed at Gunness Trace, Rochard Douglas Road, Barrckpore to begin a peaceful march to the St Mary’s Basketball Court, Moruga at the corner of Poui Trace Junction and Moruga Main Road.

Attorney Keith Scotland, who has been retained by the families of Eccles and Johnson, addressed the large crowd.

He called on them to stop blocking the roads and to seek justice for the killings through the courts.

“I understand your anger, and that anger comes from a sense of injustice. The time has come however to stop blocking the roads, you have retained a lawyer and we believe in the rule of law. The justice is not in the road but in the Hall of Justice, that is where we will get our justice,” he said.

Scotland said he had done research and found that allegations that the three friends had been involved in kidnapping, robbery and had a stolen vehicle were untrue.

“This is a matter that cries out for justice,” he added. “Nobody deserves that death, not even the worst of the worst and they were not the worst of the worst.”

In a 20-minute ritual before the walk began, Eccles’ brother Ricardo knelt in the middle of the road and cried out for justice as he lit eight coloured candles: five black, one white and one yellow. He also threw milk and puncheon rum on the ground and placed three hot congo peppers and two limes, cut in half, next to the candles. He then sprinkled salt around him as villagers gathered around, blowing horns, beating drums and chanting. The candles were left to burn out on the road.


6 Responses to “Police kill 3 in Moruga: ‘Justice not in the road’”

  • Police corruption,brutality and now an alleged triple homicide must be enough for those in authority and the citizenry to demand change.How much more wrong must the police do for justice and change to prevail?The legacy of wrong doing is deeply entrenched in the police service,when will officers feel the full brunt of the law instead of cover ups?Why should police officers be above the law are they Gods?This recent incident in Moruga should be the impetus for positive change within the police service,the culture of corruption and cover ups must come to an abrupt end.Accountability,culpability and truth must be the new rule for the police service.The public relations program initiated by the commissioner of police with not hide the dirty nature of the police service.The mafia and other criminal elements have enjoyed a close relationship with the police service,it’s time to severe that relationship.Can Gibbs do anything about this or is he himself tainted by the mafia?How much dirtiness must the police service get away with?

  • This is probably one of the more difficult moment of policing. I am sure the police did not intentionally set out to take out these three, but I have learned if an officer of the law points a gun, immediately you must raise your hands and surrender, what follows next is in the officer hands. There has been incidents in the past where officers were shot in face in routine traffic stop, all of these things play on the mind of an officer when they are chasing after criminals.

    In Moruga an officer was recently shot in the forest and died, I am sure his death has caused the officers of this division to be on edge. The death of these young people must be investigated and better procedures put in place when dealing with such a situation. If wrong doing on the part of the police then the family must be compensated.(sometimes this is difficult to prove, simply because you have to prove intention).

    In the US they have installed cameras in police cars to record police and suspect behaviour. Change is sometimes necessary and thought must be given to it…

  • hi my name is Bernadette. i agree since i read this story i know that the police lieing.they are wicked they are the one who put that gun their.and kill those people so that they will not live to tell the story dead man tell no tails.this family needs justice now they will do all their best to cover it up but God see them.these police get away with too much.and they are ones who serve and protect and.instead they are going around killing people this is new.it happen everyday.

    • The police is there to enforce the law, however they are humans and can make mistakes. There should be an investigation automatically when something of this nature occurs. I suspect they believe that the people in the car had guns and was prepared to use it, hence their response.

      Police procedure in this incident must be reviewed and better training put in place for the police. Further if the people killed do not have a rap sheet and are innocent, then the families MUST be compensated.

  • Abigail gets lively send off
    There was a lively send-off for police shooting victim Abigail Johnson, 20, yesterday at her funeral service in Moruga.

    Attorney lodges formal complaint

    Call for FBI in Moruga inquiry
    A new twist has developed into the three Moruga killings as attorney for the victims, Keith Scotland, is demanding Police Commissioner Dwayne Gibbs bring in officers from the FBI or Scotland Yard

    Prayers for peace, justice at funeral of shooting victim

    Politicians jostle to pay
    Abigail Johnson, one of the three people shot dead by police two weeks ago, was laid to rest yesterday — with the politicians promising to pay the expenses.

    Police abuse of authority
    Yesterday we reported yet another instance where the State has been ordered by a judge to pay compensation to a citizen for what can only be described as police abuse of authority. We must all be aware of the disturbing regularity with which similar matters are coming before the courts and judgments are being handed down in favour of the victims of these incidents.

  • are some areas of trinidad crime ridden or is it all of it?

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