RSVGPF to discipline negligient officers in slain nurse matter
Disciplinary charges will be laid against members of the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force (RSVGPF) in relation to the Arianna Duharte Taylor-Israel complaints matter.
So says Commissioner of Police (COP) Colin John.
In the wake of the shooting death of Taylor-Israel, a Cuban-born nurse, the RSVGPF is being scrutinized by the public in relation to how they deal with domestic dispute complaints, and, specifically how they dealt with Taylor-Israel’s reports of alleged death threats and abuse from her husband Mitchell ‘Mitch’ Israel.
The scrutiny and criticisms are being levelled at officers stationed at the Questelles Police Station -and, more so, at least one senior police officer.
The issue of domestic violence raised its head vigorously last week with the circulation of a voice recording where a female, identified only as “Anecia” begged for her life as she was being beaten by a male identified only as “Luke”.
While Vincentians were still expressing outrage over the severe beating that “Anecia” received, and her refusal to press charges, Taylor-Israel was shot and died shortly after in hospital.
Reports are that Taylor-Israel had gone to meet her son, a student at the St Martin’s Secondary School (SMSS) at Kingstown Park, around 3:30 p.m. when she was accosted and shot by someone she knows well. The person, alleged to be her husband, then left the scene in a grey Toyota Harrier.
Taylor-Isreal was rushed to the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital (MCMH), where she works, but attempts to save her life were futile and she died leaving two sons behind.
Last Monday, Mitchell appeared before the Serious Offences Court charged for the murder of his wife of 15 years.
The 57- year-old civil servant was charged that with malice aforethought on January 30, 2020, at Wilson Hill, he caused the death of his wife by shooting her about her body. Israel is scheduled to reappear in court on May 18th, 2020.
Days before her death, Mitchell’s wife was said to have made three reports to the Questelles Police Station in relation to death threats made against her. It has been reported that more than 28 reports had been made over the 15 years the two were married.
A usually reliable source told SEARCHLIGHT that whenever his wife made reports, Mitchell would know about them, and, at no point was anything done by the police.
Another reliable source told SEARCHLIGHT that on more than one occasion, a senior police officer who is close to the Israel’s would talk Taylor-Israel out of pressing charges against her husband.
Commissioner John said last week that an investigation was launched after media reports that Taylor-Israel’s reports were ignored.
The COP later said there was indeed an arrest warrant for Mitchell’s arrest but did not say why it was not executed even though the police knew he had a licensed firearm.
Taylor-Israel had filed the report of the threats at the Questelles Police Station on Saturday, January 25, and made follow up visits to the police station on Sunday, January 26 and again on Wednesday, January 29, to enquire into the status of her complaint, Searchlight has confirmed.
Not being happy with the response she was receiving, on Thursday morning Taylor-Israel, said to have been in her mid-40s, reached out in desperation to a retired female police officer, who it is said immediately contacted a high-ranking police officer about the matter.
Searchlight understands that orders were issued on Thursday morning for Israel to be apprehended, but it appears that those orders were not acted on.
Israel, 57, a civil servant attached to the Ministry of Transport and Works, was taken into police custody about one hour after his wife was shot.
But while last Saturday, Commissioner John told SEARCHLIGHT that an investigation has been launched into “the action or inaction of certain persons (within the police force) and, based on the results, action will be taken,” we have not as yet learnt of any disciplinary action having been taken.
On Wednesday, the COP said that no disciplinary action against any officer has been taken but action is coming.
“The investigation is being conducted and more than likely persons would be charged… no one is being disciplined as yet. I have asked them to write reports and disciplinary charges will be laid,” said the COP.
He said it was likely that more than one officer would be disciplined, but stated that he has never heard the allegation that Taylor-Israel was dissuaded from pressing charges by a senior officer.
A source said one officer who was stationed at Questelles, has been removed from his duties there.
Taylor-Israel came to SVG in 2001 as part of a group of 20 nurses who came here to fill a nurse shortage. She fulfilled a two year contract after whcih she went back to Cuba followed by Mitchell who married her and brought her back to SVG. She integrated well into Vincentian society and was a member of Cantimus and the Startlift Steel Orchestra.