By DANA SMITH
Tribune Staff Reporter
A ‘VERY accountable investigation’ will take place to probe the circumstances surrounding last weekend’s deaths of two men while they were in police custody, Prime Minister Perry Christie said yesterday.
Jamie Jamico Smith, 33, and Aaron Rolle, 21, were in police custody when they died.
Rolle was at the Quakoo Street station while Smith was at Central Detective Unit.
Their deaths are being investigated by Coroner Linda Virgil.
Earlier this week, human rights watchdog Amnesty International hit out after the deaths of the two men and said the deaths highlighted an urgent need for greater accountability practices over alleged police abuses.
Amnesty wants an independent body to be established and sufficiently funded by the government to probe deaths where there is likely police involvement.
Mr Christie said yesterday: “I think you’re going to find that we’re going to have a very accountable investigation. Meaning that we know who’s doing the investigation, all of the facts will be made available to everyone based on what they find, the government will inquire, the commissioner of police will inquire... and the Minister of National Security.
“All of us truly understand that when people are in custody, it is expected that they will be treated in a manner that is consistent with the civilisation that we have - that is, where violations are not inflicted upon them.
“It is what it is, we have to investigate with an open mind and come to the conclusion and whatever the consequences are, they are.”
Several officers of both police stations have been placed on leave until the coroner completes investigations, National Security Minister Dr Bernard Nottage said.
“This is not to suggest any culpability or otherwise,” he said. “It is simply to ensure that procedures are followed which will allow due process and natural justice to everyone involved - the police and the victims.”