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Officer claims that he didn’t hear anything before he was shot

Officer claims that he didn’t hear anything before he was shot

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Gunshot victim Corporal 351 Milford Edwards testifed that when he was shot during a police operation at Rose Place last year, he thought he was going to die, so he “shouted and prayed”.{{more}}

“I glanced over my shoulder and within two seconds, I heard a loud explosion. My right hand became numb and I tried to run towards the shops, but I couldn’t make it. So, I had to drop my weapons and keys and I shout and started to pray…,” Edwards testified.

Edwards, a member of the Narcotics Unit (Drug Squad) of the Royal St Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force (RSVGPF) had, on December 5, 2012, responded with members of his unit to an anonymous tip, that a drug operation was being carried out on the beach in Rose Place.

Members of other units of the RSVGPF also responded to the tip.

Edwards was the 11th witness called to the stand by the prosecution, to testify in the matter in which Sergeant Julius Morgan and PC 335 Orlando Collins, both of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) are facing five charges, including unlawful and malicious wounding, unlawful discharging of a firearm, excessive use of force, acting in a manner so rash or so negligent as to be likely to cause harm to a person and conspiracy to defeat the course of justice.

PC 45 Adrian Forde, also of the CID, is charged with conspiracy to defeat the course of justice.

Edwards, who asked to sit while giving his testimony on Friday at the Serious Offences Court, told the court that he and other members of the Narcotics Unit arrived at Rose Place in vehicle T2182, at around 9:27 p.m. on the date in question.

On arrival at Rose Place, Edwards said he, along with PC Shaun Chandler and Sergeant Catherine Robinson, went on the beach.

He said Chandler, after noticing three men on the beach, put on his flashlight, informed them who he was and told them not to move.

Edwards said the men were searched, but nothing illegal was found. He said Robinson told the men to sit on a boat, and then made a telephone call shortly after.

He noted that Chandler, who was equipped with an M4 assault rifle, gave him that weapon, along with a bunch of keys to hold while he (Chandler) went to search the beach, as instructed.

While he and Robinson guarded the three men, one of them asked to urinate and Robinson carried the man a few steps away to do so.

Edwards said it was while he had his back turned to the river, he heard a loud explosion, and realised he had been shot.

With tears flooding his eyes, a choked up Edwards said his face and right arm were covered in blood.

Shortly after, he said he heard the voice of Morgan.

PC Davis, also of the Narcotics Unit, had earlier testified that when Edwards was being brought to the vehicle to be carried to the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital, he had asked Morgan why was Edwards shot.

Morgan replied, “Nobody told me police was down here. I said ‘police, police’ and I saw a man coming towards me with a gun and I shoot. All they told me is a boat there down Bottom Town loading drugs.”

Edwards also testified that he did not hear anyone say anything before the explosion.

Edwards, with over 20 years experience, said he spent 15 days in the hospital and in May 2013, he underwent an operation, during which doctors removed 10 pieces of bullet fragments from his face.

Edwards said up to today, he can’t use his arm and is currently on sick leave.

According to Edwards, he and Morgan have been friends for years and he even considers him a “good friend”. He added that he and the other two defendants get along well.

Defence counsel Ronald Marks, during cross examination, asked Edwards if he had heard something that caused him to turn to his right, when he saw the men.

“You heard something when you turned around,” Marks asserted

“No, your honour,” Edwards replied.

“You were guarding the prisoners with your gun raised,” Marks told Edwards.

Edward refuted Marks’ claim and said the muzzle of the gun was facing downwards.

Under cross-examination by defence counsel Kay Bacchus-Browne, Edwards said he saw two men coming, but did not recognize any of them.

He stated that it was only based on information that he knew he was shot by police and he was not aware if Forde and Collins were in the party of CID officers that had also responded to the tip.

In her testimony, Sergeant Catherine Robinson told the court that she was about 12 feet away from Edwards when she heard a gunshot.

She said after hearing the shots, she fell to the ground.

Under cross-examination by Marks, Robinson said when she left Central Police Station with her unit, she did not inform anyone there about their mission.

“Did you know if RRU Layou was notified?”

Robinson said no. She also said she did not know if the Criminal Investigations Department was notified about the tip.

When cross-examined by defence counsel Duane Daniel, Robinson said at the time the shots rang out, Edwards was positioned behind her, to her right.

She added that while in that position, she could not tell if Edwards’ weapon was raised or if he had it pointing downwards.

She further testified that Morgan shouted “police, police” after the shots rang out.

Robinson added that Morgan apologised to Edwards following the shooting.

Fancy resident Irving Stay, one of the men who were captured by Robinson’s team that night, told the court that he had only gone to the beach to urinate and defecate when the officers apprehended him.

While under police guard, Stay said he saw three police officers coming towards them.

“After ah saw the officers, ah gunshot let go and the female police drop on the ground,” Stay said.

He said he thought the three men he saw were police officers because of a telephone call Robinson had made moments before the incident.

Stay, under cross-examination, said he never heard anyone shout “police”.

The case continues on July 25th.

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