By NICO SCAVELLA
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE lifelong friend of a teenager whose death at the hands of police sparked the 2010 Bain Town riot yesterday claimed the officer who killed him got down on one knee and shot him as if it was target practice.
Ryan Fernander told jurors that while chasing Bradley Newbold through a yard on Hospital Lane in November 2010, Corporal Ricardo Rolle got down on one knee, “lined up” his friend and shot him.
The evidence came during a visit to the scene of the shooting which was requested by the jury for it to have a better understanding of how events unfolded on November 20, 2010.
On that date, Newbold was shot and killed by Cpl Rolle moments after he and former Sergeant Trevor Green approached him, Mr Fernander and Mr Fernander’s cousin as they sat on a wall at Hospital Lane.
According to Forensic Pathologist Dr Caryn Sands, Newbold died of two gunshot wounds to the torso.
His death sparked massive protests in the Bain Town community, events that would eventually come to be known as the “Bain Town riot”. Police officers and their vehicles were said to have been stoned by members of an angry mob and at least one car was set ablaze. Even news reporters covering the riot were said to be harassed by the angry mob.
Yesterday, the jury, Her Majesty’s Coroner Jeanine Weech-Gomez and counsel were escorted to the scene on Hospital Lane, where both Mr Fernander and Mr Greene demonstrated to the jurors what they recalled happening.
On that day, Mr Fernander said he saw the two officers approached from King Street and simply told them “don’t move”. Mr Fernander said he and his cousin, who is currently incarcerated in the United States, stayed put. When asked why he did, Mr Fernander said: “I just didn’t think there was no threat”, especially considering they were seconds from their homes.
Newbold, though, opted to flee, causing the officers to give chase.
Previously, Mr Fernander said he found it “somewhat” strange at the time that Newbold decided to run. Yesterday however, in response to a question by one of the jurors, Mr Fernander said he wouldn’t say Newbold’s decision to run was because he could not say whether or not Newbold had any previous history with the officers.
According to Mr Fernander, Newbold darted to the rear of the property and ran “like he trying to get out”. He said as soon as Newbold put one foot up on a large cesspit towards the rear of the property near a large, two storey apartment, Cpl Rolle kneeled down, lined Newbold up in his sights and shot him.
When that happened, Mr Fernander said he and his cousin hopped over the wall, but as soon as they did, the two officers told them to turn back or else they would be shot.
Afterwards, Mr Fernander said he ran to the house where Newbold and his other family members grew up and informed them Newbold had been shot. Then, he said he ran to his home, which is two houses down, and told his family members.
Then, he ran on King Street and told people what had happened to Newbold. By the time he came back to the property, a white police jeep was parked in front, which took the two officers away.
However, Cpl Rolle’s attorney Bjorn Ferguson challenged Mr Fernander’s narrative by noting that he did not mention the part about Cpl Rolle kneeling down to shoot Newbold when he previously took the stand, nor when he spoke to police.
Mr Ferguson further accused Mr Fernander of being an “untruthful witness”, and said his memory “selectively recalls events” convenient to him.
Meanwhile, Former Sgt Green, recited much of the testimony he previously gave from the witness box. Mr Green, now a teacher employed by the Ministry of Education, walked the jury through how on date in question, he and Cpl Rolle, while on foot patrol on the area, approached three young men sitting on a wall, identified themselves and proceeded to search them in reference to firearms or drugs.
However, the former officer said after one of the men, who turned out to be Newbold, noticed the police badge pinned on his left chest, he jumped the wall and ran. Mr Green said Cpl Rolle, gave chase, and he followed suit.
During the foot chase, which Mr Green said lasted no more than a minute, Newbold clutched his waist and withdrew a black, Kel-Tec 9mm Luger pistol and aimed it at Cpl Rolle and himself. Mr Green said Cpl Rolle told the man to drop the weapon twice, commands that were not obeyed.
Then, he said he heard two gun shots, and later saw when Cpl Rolle fell on top of Newbold on top of a cesspit. By the time he caught up to them both, Mr Green said Newbold’s breathing was “laboured”.
Yesterday however, he explained that after Cpl Rolle shot Newbold, a mob of people, predominantly young men, started to gather with one young man in particular “inciting” the mob over what had happened.
At that point, he said he told Cpl Rolle they would have to stand “back-to-back” for protection. He said he also secured the firearm Newbold had, discreetly handed it to Cpl Rolle and told him to put it in his pocket for safe keeping.
Then, he said the guy who was inciting the crowd came over the wall to where Newbold was, and the other young men with him followed suit. Mr Green said rather than cause a confrontation by trying to secure the scene and consequently ward off the mob of young men, he and Cpl Rolle were forced to leave Newbold’s body and move to the porch of the apartment building on the property. After that, he said they went back onto Hospital Lane, unable to ever secure the scene.
Mr Green said he saw when rocks and bottles started to be thrown, but said he was closer to Hospital Lane when that started happening.
The matter is adjourned to April 24.