Local News

Attorney Jerry Edwin retained by family of national footballer who was shot by police in Gouyave

This was one of the things that was set on fire in the street in Gouyave as villagers took the law into their own hands in protest against the shooting incident

American-trained attorney-at-law, Jerry Edwin has been retained by the family of the 24-year old national footballer, Jamol Charles, who was shot and injured in the upper leg this morning by a policeman following an incident in Gouyave, St. John.

Edwin met with the family shortly after they left the hospital where Jamol was rushed for urgent treatment.

He described the injured young man as a close relative of Grenada’s London 2012 400 Olympic gold medalist in the 400 metres race, Kirani James.

The early morning shooting led to protest action and unrest in Gouyave as angry residents threw garbage and set fire in the streets calling for justice for young Jamol.

The Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) moved swiftly and sent in the Rapid Response Unit (RRU) to try and restore law and order.

The national footballer was shot shortly after a police party of about four persons turned up at his family home in search of an elder brother and soon got into confrontation with the mother.

The attorney-at-law told THE NEW TODAY that he is looking into reports that the lawmen came onto the property without a search warrant.

Edwin also said that he is in touch with Acting Commissioner of Police, Edvin Martin and his deputy Frank Redhead on the need for an urgent investigation into the shooting incident in order to provide answers to the family members of the victim.

The attorney released the following statement on the Gouyave shooting incident:

I stand with the mother and stepfather and the sisters and brothers of Jamol Charles, 24, a member of Grenada’s national soccer team, an outstanding young cricketer, a cousin of Grenada’s Olympic Champion Kirani James and MOST IMPORTANTLY a young man NEVER EVER known to the institutions of the criminal justice system, a young man whose father is a retired police officer.

I stand with them and with the community of the town of Gouyave.

Let me also say that I know the police officer involved in this unfortunate shooting incident. I know that officer is a veteran of the RGPF who carries out his duties as a professional and who is not likely to engage a civilian with deadly force without reasonable cause unless he believes he faces uncertain harm for himself or his fellow officers.

The unassailable fact is that Willian James and her husband Phillip George are weak with grief because Jamol Charles has been shot and injured right there in front of his mother with his mother standing right next to him in her verandah.

Jamol’s family is extremely grateful that the young man is recuperating and receiving medical attention. He is not likely to succumb to the injuries he suffered this morning.

The family is confused and like the rest of their community are outraged at the events that led to the shooting of this young man. I’ve spoken to the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Edvin Martin and asked that an investigation be commenced swiftly, thoroughly and with full transparency so that the family as well as the people of Gouyave are satisfied that all the resources of the RGPF are deployed to ensure a just result.

I’ve spoken to Deputy Commissioner Frank Redhead as well and we are satisfied so far that an internal investigation has started and the RGPF will communicate to the nation about what happened this morning when officers went to speak with Mrs. Charles’ older son and one of them, who was unarmed, let me say this again, who was unarmed, ended up being shot in the upper leg and is now on lying on a bed at the St. George’s General hospital. We want to know why.

I want to underscore that this is a law abiding family. Jamol Charles has never spat on the sidewalk or uttered a foul word to the annoyance of anyone. He and his family are strong believers of the law. His stepfather is a current member of the Royal Grenada Police Force so we do not want this matter to be confused so that anyone believes there is a vendetta against the police. Let’s disabuse anyone from that line of thinking.

But the bullet that struck young Jamal was fired from the gun of a veteran and professional police officer. We want to know why because Jamal should have been on his way to the soccer field this morning not the General Hospital. His mother was packing a picnic basket to take Jamol and her sons, uncles and her sisters up to the beach at Bathway for a quiet and peaceful time.

Police shootings of civilians are rare here in Grenada and we want to keep it that way. Police are employed to protect the citizens of Grenada not to injure them.

The relationship in Grenada between the Police and Civilians is not what we see in the United States or even in some of our Caribbean neighbours where civilians and police are at virtual war.

Grenadians are deep and abiding adherents of the law. We have one of the lowest crime rates in the entire world but we as civilians insist that our police officers must follow proper procedures when going to the homes of our citizens. No police officer can barge into the home of any Grenadian without a justified reason. And they certainly cannot draw and use their firearms in this country against civilians unless there is absolutely no alternative.

Something went wrong in Gouyave this morning and the family want an explanation to discover why their son is lying on a bed in the General Hospital recovering from gunshot wounds from the gun of a police officer who by all accounts is a seasoned professional.

This family want answers and they and members the St. John’s community deserve full and complete answers. This is not the way a mother should be spending her Sunday morning in Grenada.

We will be meeting with the Commissioner or his designated Deputy tomorrow and will update the media and the nation at that time of what the facts are. I am certain that Commissioner Martin’s office will also update the nation on the progress of their investigation.

By now, you should know that I have only one interest in my practice of the law. I am interested in one thing and it is only this: The truth; truth behind these unfortunate events and justice as the bedfellow of truth.

Please be assured that we will seek justice wherever truth points us. The reaction of the people in Gouyave this morning is an expression of justifiable outrage. The family of the injured young man thank the community in the town of Gouyave for the support and want them now to await the full report from the RGPF on what happened this morning.

After the Commissioner’s office releases its initial findings of its investigation, the family will then issue its statement in response. This is a law abiding family and we all want the police investigation to follow the path to truth so that Justice will follow wherever truth leads.

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