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Monday 23 May 2011

Beetham, Trinidad - Residents riot after police shoot 'community leader'

trinidad express

22/05/2011 - PHASE FOUR Beetham Gardens residents stoned vehicles and partially blocked both the Beetham Highway and Priority Bus Route as they expressed their anger after the police shot and injured a known gunman from the area.
Although the police described the man as a known "gang leader", the residents, when interviewed yesterday, said he was a, "community leader".
Around 12.10 a.m. yesterday, officers of the Inter Agency Task Force (IATF) were on patrol along Main Street in Beetham Gardens when, on reaching 18th Street, they saw a man standing with a sub-machine gun in his hand.
Officers said they stopped and ordered the man to drop the gun but he didn't and instead fired at them. The police fired back, hitting the man in his abdomen. A group of residents who were nearby reportedly picked up the man and hid him from the officers.
Police began searching the area for the gunman who they described as, "well known to the police".
The police eventually left the area empty-handed.
From around 6 a.m. however, residents began gathering debris which they dragged into the middle of both the highway and Bus Route. They then set these items on fire. Other residents began stoning vehicles that were heading east along the highway.
Police and fire officers responded and after removing the items and ordering the people back into their homes, the riot was eventually quelled.
Reporters spoke with the residents yesterday and some expressed their frustration with the police.
One elderly woman even said the man whom she described as a, "community leader and contractor", was known for helping people of Beetham Gardens. She also said Beetham residents will not take what she called, "attacks against them", lightly and will continue to protest until they got justice.
They also called on Police Commissioner Dwayne Gibbs to investigate the attack against the "community leader", as they claimed the police were out to execute him.
Police in the meantime said they have several outstanding warrants for the man and are asking all hospitals to be on the alert as they believe he will need to get treatment for his gunshot wound.
—Gyasi Gonzales

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