SAVANNA-LA-MAR, Westmoreland — Two police constables charged with the fatal shooting of three civilians in Shrewsbury, Westmoreland, earlier this year were granted bail in the sum of $500,000 each with one or two sureties when they appeared in the Savanna-la-Mar RM court, yesterday.
The accused — Kenroy Hines and Damane Campbell, who are assigned to the Savanna-la-Mar police station — were arrested yesterday morning by the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) and each slapped with a charge of murder with Campbell facing an additional charge of attempting to pervert the course of justice. He was offered bail in the sum of $100,000 on the attempting to pervert the course of justice charge.
Stop orders were placed on both officers and they were instructed by Resident Magistrate Collymore Gordon to surrender their travel documents. Additionally, both officers were ordered to stay away from the parish of Westmoreland unless it is for the purpose of attending court, and warned not to make contact with the witnesses.
The two accused are scheduled to reappear in the Savanna-la-Mar Resident Magistrate's Court on September 12 when the case is set for mention.
The police officers have been charged with the killing of brothers Andrew and Tristan Brydson and their cousin Kingsley Green.
The three men were allegedly shot and killed by the police at a shop in the Shrewsbury community on March 15.
According to INDECOM, the police reported that officers were on patrol and surveillance duties in the Shrewsbury area when they received a report that gunmen were at a shop there. They then proceeded to the shop in question.
It was alleged that upon entering the shop, one officer observed a man with a gun in his hand, which he pointed at him. That officer opened fire on the man who fell to the ground. It was also alleged that the other two men opened fire on another police officer present and he returned the fire hitting both men. The police allegedly recovered an AK47 rifle and a .22 Berretta pistol.
Residents, however, disputed the police account of the incident, insisting that the men — one of whom was a fireman — were unarmed.
Yesterday, scores of people, including relatives and friends of the deceased, expressed their disappointment after the lawmen were granted bail.
"The police officers should not get any bail and they should not get back any work. They are saying that one of their girlfriend is pregnant. We don't have anything to do with that because my cousins had children so what about the children they left behind?" asked Rema Green Myers, a cousin of the deceased men.
Another cousin, Heather Neish Crooks said: "We are disappointed because we did not expect that they would be given bail at this point."
Meanwhile, attorney Peter Champagnie, who is representing both constables, maintained that both officers acted in self-defence.
"And we intend to defend this vigourously in court," he said.
"In making the bail application this morning (yesterday) on behalf of both constables, I reminded the court that the allegations included — which we are adopting as facts — that an AK-47 rifle was discovered, a .22 Berretta pistol was also recovered and those weapons do not form part of the JCF standard issue and also, this incident was quite fortuitous. They were responding to a call that they had received in relation to gunmen in the area," Champagnie told reporters following yesterday's hearing.