By RIEL MAJOR
Tribune Staff Reporter
FAMILY members and loved ones of the young man shot and killed by police on John Street Wednesday afternoon are calling for justice.
The Tribune understands the deceased is 21-year-old Adrian Emillien who, according to our records, is the fifth person to die in a police shooting this year.
In an interview with The Tribune, a woman who identified herself as the victim’s step-aunt, but who did not want to be named, said her nephew was not a saint but said he was a humble and respectful person.
She said: “I wouldn’t say ‘my one good nephew’…no, yeah he was in and out of prison. It wasn’t for nothing serious but that never stop who he was as a person. He was a respectful person and a mannerly person. He was quiet because if you didn’t know him, you wouldn’t know he could talk.”
The step-aunt claimed her nephew wasn’t armed or selling drugs, adding the community no longer feels safe.
However, police have said officers were conducting an operation on John Street in the Bain Town community around 1pm on Wednesday when they encountered a man “engaging in the sale of illegal drugs” and armed with a firearm.
The man “engaged the officers” which resulted in him being shot, police said. The victim was taken to hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.
Officers recovered an illegal firearm and a quantity of dangerous drugs at the scene, police said.
“He wasn’t selling drugs at that time, I wouldn’t say (he didn’t sell drugs) previously or not before. I’m not going to sit here and lie. He wasn’t selling drugs - he was cleaning the yard, he was chilling as they say. No one identified themselves as police,” his relative said.
“Broad daylight…children go to that shop, that shop is through the corner, not on the main road but it (isn’t) safe no more. My kids restricted and can’t go up there, can’t get cup or ice cream. We don’t know if they (were) coming back; people in fear. This community, everyone is always (outside) and last night the corner was dry.”
She added: “The immediate people that actually knows him are distraught. All he did was run because he’s known to police. (Police) didn’t say who (they) was but (police) shot him three, four times. That was not one gunshot that (went) off. Y’all had to kill him? And y’all just want us to sit down because he’s known to police or he use to do this, or he use to that?
“He is still somebody. It’s inhumane to say ‘oh it’s just one less criminal (on the streets).’
“I’m in fear now because I have kids...These people are supposed to protect and serve, that’s what they swear to do. My six-year-old knows who killed her uncle yesterday. My kids know who killed their uncle yesterday.”
A woman who identified herself as the victim’s girlfriend, who did not want to be named, said she has mixed feelings following the incident.
She said: “Right now I don’t know how to feel… one minute I’m trying to hold strong, the next minute (I’m) breaking down. I wouldn’t say he was a good boy, but he was trying to make it on the road as a Haitian citizen.
“He had his flaws, no one is perfect. . . my (daughter) is old enough to understand and she knows what’s going on so she can’t take it.”
She added: “I don’t know (how) to feel safe because the ones who supposed to be protecting us, they are working against us and killing us down like dogs in the road. (I want) justice, justice needs to come out of this.
“It’s wrong, he had no guns or drugs on him. Only shots fired that day was the shots the (police) let off,” she alleged. “Whatever they trying to plant or put together it (isn’t) working. You shot a man running (away) that means he afraid of y’all.
“He was running away from y’all and y’all shot him down like a dog and drag him out to the road like a dog. (Police) told him, ‘bey get up, bey ain’t no-one helping (expletive) you…get up bey.’ They treat him like a dog (sic).”
When asked about police-involved shootings yesterday, Commissioner of Police Anthony Ferguson told reporters in most cases, the suspect is usually in “possession of a firearm and confronted police”.
Commissioner Ferguson said: “If you are out there on the front line and you are in possession of a firearm and you confront the police it is very likely that you can be injured, very likely.”
When asked if police officers are trained to shoot with the intent of arresting the suspect or trained to shoot with the intent to kill, Commissioner Ferguson said: “These are live bullets that we are firing. It’s not rubber bullets.
“We train daily because, let me put it this way…I think the Bahamian people... the fear, you know what it is the fear of you walking and somebody shooting you. You don’t want that fear so the police ought to be that buffer to make sure that if any shooting to do, let them shoot at the police because the police is trained to take necessary action to prevent you from being shot.”
The matter will now head to Coroner’s Court for an inquiry.