Mary Francis Calls For Inquest Into Fatal Police Shooting – St. Lucia Times

The content originally appeared on: St. Lucia Times News

Human Rights advocate Mary Francis has called for an inquest into the death of New Village teenager Jay-Z Joseph, whom police shot in Vieux Fort on Tuesday.

Francis acknowledged that officers must defend themselves if they come under attack.

However, the outspoken Attorney at Law asserted that when there is a fatality, the police need to give an account of what occurred.

The National Centre for Legal Aid and Human Rights Coordinator observed that the details were sketchy regarding the police shooting of the 19-year-old.

“If they said he was one of three guys wearing masks, what happened? Did he actually attack the police? What happened to cause the police to shoot at him? Was he in the process of committing a crime ?”

Francis told St. Lucia Times all those factors need due consideration.

She asserted that the law requires an inquest.

Francis acknowledged that Saint Lucia is in a serious crime situation.

Nevertheless, she emphasised that the violent crime surge should not become an excuse to cover up unlawful police actions.

The Attorney at Law said she was not indicating that the police acted unlawfully in shooting Jay-Z Joseph on Tuesday.

However, Francis told St. Lucia Times the police must prove that they acted lawfully.

She recalled that inquests into fatal police shootings in the past had returned verdicts of unlawful killing.

Nevertheless, Francis said there had been no further action.

In addition, the human rights advocate declared that police investigations take forever.

Francis recalled the fatal police-involved shooting of 17-year-old student Arnold Joseph in 2019.

“Up to now, the investigation is still ongoing,” she lamented.