By LAMECH JOHNSON
Tribune Staff Reporter
A WOMAN yesterday admitted that she used obscenities and resisted arrest when police tried to move her from her son as he lay dying in the street after being shot by police last week.
Gloria Neily stood before Magistrate Saboula Swain facing two counts of assaulting a police officer and a charge each of obscene language, disorderly behaviour and resisting arrest.
She denied assaulting two police officers but pleaded guilty to the other offences concerning the August 23 incident.
“It’s a mother’s anguish and I can understand. It’s the worst thing that can happen...to watch your child die,” Magistrate Swain said after placing the woman on probation for six months.
The accused is the mother of Keith Neily, who was fatally shot by police following a foot chase in the Chippingham area nine days ago. According to initial police reports, Neily allegedly pointed a weapon at police, who then opened fire.
Coroner Jeanine Weech-Gomez is currently investigating the incident.
Police prosecutor Sgt Timothy Saunders yesterday briefed the magistrate on the circumstances surrounding the charges.
“On Sunday, August 23, some time around 10pm, a crew of officers went to the area of Providence Avenue off Infant View Road,” Sgt Saunders said.
“While there, the officers discovered a group of persons gathered in that area. There was an incident, which resulted in a person being shot. It was while in the area of that person, the accused was observed walking to the person lying in the street.”
“She along with other persons were observed searching the person on the ground. They were told by police that this particular area was a crime scene but she indicated that the person was her son and that ‘ain’t no (expletive) body could tell her she couldn’t touch her son.’”
“Police tried to calm her but she continued to use obscenities. And when a crowd of persons gathered in the area, police determined they would make arrests,” the prosecutor added.
“They made an attempt to arrest her but she pushed the officers and didn’t allow police to handcuff her. As a result, she had to be subdued and taken into custody to the Central Police Station where she was later charged.”
Philip Hilton, lawyer for the accused, said his client did not waste the court’s time and notwithstanding the circumstances, owned up to her responsibilities for her actions.
“Your worship, one must take into consideration that Ms Neily would’ve seen her son lying in the middle of the street with gunshot wounds and blood around him. Any person would’ve reacted the same way to that,” the lawyer submitted.
“This would’ve also been the last occasion that this mother (saw) her child alive. It was his last breath, he was gasping and it was a natural, instinctive thought of a mother to hold and cover her child in that moment.”
“She was in anguish,” the magistrate said in understanding.
“Yes, your worship,” said Mr Hilton.
“Was he a person known to police?” the magistrate asked the accused.
“He got locked up once, but he was a good boy,” the teary-eyed accused answered.
“What was he locked up for?” the magistrate probed.
“They found him with a joint,” the woman said.
“Why’d they shoot him?” the magistrate asked.
“I don’t know,” the mother said, adding that there were varying accounts going around of what happened on the night in question.
“I was just saying to them to let me comfort my child, please,” she told the magistrate.
The judge told the accused that she would be placed on probation for six months and discharged of the assault charges. If she does not run afoul of the law, all matters concerning the incident would go away.
If she breaches her probation, Neily would receive 30 days for each of the three charges to which she pleaded guilty.