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Edwin ramps up pressure on RGPF

Attorney at Law Jerry Edwin – is keeping the pressure on the police force

I continue to maintain that a Hollow-Point Bullet was used.

Those were the words uttered Monday by attorney-at-law, Jerry Edwin who has ramped up the pressure on the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) in the July 5 shooting of footballer, Jamal Charles by a member of the force at Gouyave in St. John.

The American-trained lawyer took issue with a report in which a senior member of the force denied that a “Hollow-Point Bullet was used by the Corporal of Police who fired the shot from a .9 gun to hit Charles in the leg.

According to the Police officer, this kind of bullet would have caused serious injuries including an exit wound and possible the death of the footballer.

The police have maintained that a conventional projectile was used in the shooting since the “Hollow-Point” is not a bullet which forms part of its weaponry arsenal.

Attorney Edwin accused the senior police officer of lacking “basic ballistic training” since a Hollow-Point Bullet is not designed to exit “soft tissue”.

“It is designed to fragment on impact on soft tissue,” he remarked.

Edwin said this is precisely what happened with the shooting of his client by the Corporal of Police.

“We have the shell of the bullet. We have the evidence of the shooting – so we are not speculating that this young man was shot. We know the kind of bullet that was shot, we know the gun that fired the bullet, we know the specimen of the bullet,” he remarked.

“I will tell you first that it’s what we call an FHD… a full jacketed Hollow-Point Bullet. We know the manufacturer of the bullet. We will get an expert opinion on the shell for the avoidance of any doubt because the bullet behaved like a duck and it quacked.

“This was indeed a Hollow-Point bullet and for someone especially a senior officer of the Royal Grenada Police Force to opined outside of his area of expertise, enlarges the question to include now the qualification of persons from the Royal Grenada Police Force who are opining on areas of ballistics outside of the terms of reference of their job.

“I want to reiterate that a Hollow-Point bullet does not leave some massive exit wound – it is designed not to exit but to fragment – it is to break up.

Charles was shot when a party of officers showed up at his home in search of an elder brother who was wanted for questioning in connection with an alleged offense.

There was a confrontation at the home between Charles’ mother and a female police officer when a Corporal of Police fired a single shot into Jamal’s leg.

The incident sparked off unrest in Gouyave as residents took to the street in protest including the burning of objects and calling for justice for Jamal who is regarded as a role model in the small fishing village.

According to Edwin, who called for an independent investigation into the shooting, the proof of the type of bullet used by the Corporal of Police to cause the injury lies in the fact that there are five fragments “in this young man’s thigh”.

“I don’t want to get into a war of words over what is something that is as basic as a bullet that struck a young man. I think that the police are unnecessarily defensive because Police Departments all over the world use these Hollow-Point bullets,” he said.

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“It is not advised that they do because it is against the Geneva Human Rights Convention but they do because as the FBI has said – the Hollow-Point bullet is extremely accurate and it avoids piercing the body to strike another person like a bystander,” he added.

Edwin told this newspaper it is well known that many law enforcement bodies around the world including the FBI prefer to use the “Hollow-Point” type of bullet in the exercise of their duties.

He called on RGPF to be honest and admit that it was a Hollow-Point Bullet that was used to shoot the footballer.

He said: “All the Royal Grenada Police Force has to do is confess … simple (admit) …we used a Hollow-Point bullet because we think it is safe and we used it because the bullet is designed not to exit and cause injuries to other civilian bystanders.

“That’s all they have to do but because they are misinformed they think that when I indicated that it was a Hollow-Point bullet that somehow it sounds massive ….explosion that would have gone through the boys’ leg and on and on. So they are unnecessarily defensive.

Edwin went on: “The police are just unnecessarily defensive – it’s not necessary for them to go down the road they took – the instantaneous denial.”

The attorney charged that the utterances of the senior police officer on the controversial shooting of Jamal is enough reason why RGPF should not be allowed to investigate itself when there is a shooting of the kind on the island.

“We need an absolutely objective neutral party,” he remarked.

According to Edwin, it would have been more prudent for the police to investigate his contention about the use of the bullet by the Corporal of Police and not coming out hours after to deny that the bullet used in the shooting was not part of the weaponry arsenal of the force.

“What the RGPF should say in a case like this (is) we will investigate whether the bullet was a Hollow-Point bullet. Yes, they could say, it is not in our arsenal we do not issue it but we will investigate whether that bullet was used,” he said.

Edwin described as “extremely irresponsible” such utterances by the police at this stage without a thorough investigation since it “drives the point home that we cannot have police investigating police when we have these kinds of incidents”.

According to Edwin, he is not accusing the police of being bias in the present circumstances but the fact of the matter is that accountability and transparency should be the guiding principle to determine that a policeman should not investigate another policeman in the shooting of a civilian.

The barrister-at-law on Monday served papers on the Office of the Attorney General to seek compensation for the injuries inflicted on Charles.

He warned that if no response is received within a 9-day period then he would be left with no other choice than to take out a civil lawsuit against the State.

“We are bringing an action for the assault, wounding, and grievous harm. We are bringing a myriad charges for wounding, wrongful entry into the home,” he said.

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