Linden killings…Legal official says rank who gave order, shooters should be charged
If it is established that the Linden shootings were unjustified, all of the policemen who opened fire, as well as the one who ordered his colleagues to shoot should be charged.
This is the view of one of the country’s most prominent legal officials, who told Kaieteur News yesterday that it is not necessary to ascertain which ranks fired the shots that killed the three protesters.
“Once the action is in consort…even if the bullet missed they should all be charged,” the legal official said.
“If an officer gave the order to shoot he should (also) be charged. He caused them to shoot. The whole issue is whether it (the shooting) was justified or not.”
The Force’s ballistics experts have established that the protesters were shot by ranks armed with shotguns. Deputy Police Commissioner Seelall Persaud has said that four shotgun cartridges were unaccounted for from the ammunition the ranks at Linden had in their possession.
He also said that investigators know the ranks who had shotguns and who discharged their firearms. According to the Crime Chief, the investigators also have statements from these policemen.
But while ballistic experts can match the shotguns to the cartridges retrieved from the scene of the shooting, they cannot establish which ranks actually killed the three protesters.
A police official said that the Force’s ballistics experts are still checking firearms that have been submitted for testing.
While police sources have told Kaieteur News that copper-coated pellets were extracted from two of the slain men and some of the wounded, Crime Chief Persaud is quoted in a section of the state media as saying that the pellets are not “police issue” pellets, since members of the Guyana Police Force (GPF) do not use that type of “heavy cartridge.”
The Alliance For Change (AFC) and other groups have expressed a lack of confidence in the police being able to conduct an impartial investigation into the tragedy. The party hired the services of Trinidadian Professor Hubert Daisley to view the autopsies.
The AFC is also attempting to have United Kingdom ballistics expert, Dr. David Robinson view the ballistics tests conducted by the police.
On July 18th, three Linden protestors were shot dead and almost two dozen persons injured at the Kara Kara bridge in Linden, Region 10.
There were reports that the police had opened fire on a group of persons who had taken command of the bridge which is the main access into Linden.
Lindeners have been protesting a hike in electricity rates effective July 1st. That Region 10 area continues to remain a hot-bed with critical supplies to key hinterland mining and other communities areas locked off because of blocked roads.