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Family Challenges Fatal Police Shooting

Sylvester McKenzie was shot dead by police last month. Officers said he engaged police in gunfire before being fatally wounded.  

Sylvester McKenzie was shot dead by police last month. Officers said he engaged police in gunfire before being fatally wounded.  

By MORGAN ADDERLEY

Tribune Staff Reporter

madderley@tribunemedia.net 

A RELATIVE of a man shot dead by police on February 11 has defended his character, adding family members want justice for his death.

Sylvester McKenzie was killed by police off Cedar Way, near Carmichael Road.

Officers said the deceased was suspected of carrying out a drug deal and shot at police before they returned fire.

However, a relative, who did not want to be named, has disputed this narrative.

On the morning in question, Assistant Commissioner of Police Clayton Fernander said officers noticed the deceased allegedly carrying out a drug deal. He said it was at this time, upon noticing police, the suspect engaged officers in gunfire.

McKenzie was subsequently fatally shot by police.

ACP Fernander added that a weapon was found in the vehicle and a kilo of suspected cocaine was recovered from the scene.

McKenzie’s family says differently.

One of his relatives described McKenzie, 35, as a kind, hard-working man and father to a nine-year-old son.

In a letter to The Tribune, the relative claimed: “Sylvester was not troublesome, nor did he have any previous run-ins with the law.

“He was never arrested for any grievous crimes, nor was he one to indulge in any criminal activity to bring about harm to others.”

The relative criticised what she perceived as a smearing of McKenzie’s character by the media.

“We the family have sat back and watched for weeks, during our bereavement, whilst the media tarnished and tried to destroy the reputation of a hard-working gentleman, whose only goal and mission in life was to provide for his loved ones.”

When asked her perspective of what happened that morning, the relative told The Tribune yesterday: “Well he lives through there (Cedar Way) actually. He was shot one lamp pole away from his house.

“What happened was someone had come to pick him up. He grabbed his plate of food, went outside into the car, and from what I heard there were gunshots.

“Somebody screamed, ‘Call the police, they’re shooting.’

“And someone else in the yard said, ‘Well that’s the police that’s shooting.’

“And by the time we got out there, police vehicles were out there and we couldn’t see anything. And I guess by that time he was already dead.”

The relative said the matter was sent to the Coroner’s Court, but the family has “no idea” when it will come up. 

She added: “He had a plate of food in his hand… it wasn’t like they were just outside, either parked in the car or even standing outside. He hopped inside the car and they were proceeding to drive off.”

The relative does not believe that a drug deal was taking place.

“Where the drug deal comes in, everybody is lost with this. Because there was no money found, they said a gun was found and some drugs.

“But my thing is a deal, if it’s a drug deal, then what was the exchange?”

When contacted for comment by The Tribune yesterday, ACP Fernander said the police cannot comment beyond what was said at the scene.

He reiterated that the matter is before the Coroner’s Court, as the police “can’t investigate ourselves.”

Six people have been fatally shot by police so far, this year.

Comments

stillwaters 1 year, 4 months ago

Ah boy.......here we go again.....somebody's good son innocently shot by the police. A young man smashed my car window in the food store yard to take a bag that only contained books, but I was surprised how clean cut and well dressed he was. Somebody's good son, of course.

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DDK 1 year, 4 months ago

Once again, what has RBPF done with the body cams?

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John 1 year, 4 months ago

Usually after a story like this appears in the media shots start to ring out again and more persons are killed. But it is no doubt that all matters of homicide should be thoroughly investigated even those involving the police. What stopped unjustified killings by police with our neighbors to the north was when society decided that they will no longer sit back and let their young men be killed by police. And so not the police are more accountable and less willing to use deadly force in even a simple traffic stop. There are agencies of other countries broadcasting that theire are fiftysix gangs operating in The Bahamas and pose a threat of becoming terrorists. They also falsely state that many young men are involved in drug trafficking and have the potential to become drug cartels. But When you drive around the streets of New Providence where do you see 56 gangs? Everyone is struggling to get food to eat and keep a roof over their heads, or at least part of it, and young men will tell you they are not into ‘no hand vibe.’ But these agencies armed with false information encourage the police to attack and assault the young men and the violence and killings escalate from there... just watch for yourselves.

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Aegeaon 1 year, 4 months ago

Ugh! I can't even stand such an Anti-American such as you.

The facts are obvious, we SOLD out to drug lords in the 80's, Bahamians joined up to deal with drugs, the police is neglected and doesn't care about them so we have about 52 gangs. The young Bahamians chose to sacrifice their lives for thug life. What did that get them?! 3,000 Bahamians dead and the US and the Bahamas should had taken action.

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John 1 year, 4 months ago

When China finds CIA agents doing what they are doing in the Bahamas and the Caribbean they execute them by firing squad, no questions asked.. but our (senior) police still join forces with them to kill our young men.. The Bible calls them ‘dumb DOGS that refuse to bark’. They take advantage of the widows and the fatherless.

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Aegeaon 1 year, 4 months ago

It's all the Bahamian's fault, can't you even learn? Stop blaming Americans. Blame ourselves! No young person would even get a job here anymore, all they want is to be a drug lord. The Chinese would be sanctioned like North Korea if they tried something here. The US and the UK is our allies, stop burning the bridge!

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Sickened 1 year, 4 months ago

“He was never arrested for any grievous crimes,..." Love it! Does this mean that he has been arrested before?

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John 1 year, 4 months ago

‘Does it mean he has been arrested before?’ Maybe but what is the revelance? Do you know that the police, assisted by defense force officers, go into certain areas of New Providence and lock up every young male they see? They keep them locked up for 48 hours verbally and physically abusing them and refusing to allow anyone to see them. Some of these young men have good jobs that they lose because of the s type of police action. Others are high school or college students. Some have fake or trump up charges put on them that they have to spend years going back and forth to court to defend. This type of police action have destroyed more young men and caused them to turn anti social than any gang in the country. And the senior police who order this type action needs to be investigated, and jailed.

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Dawes 1 year, 4 months ago

It does not matter what this man has done previously. What matters is whether the police acted in accordance with the law. The only way for this to occur is for the coroners court to actual do its job. Yes crime is bad over here, but we can't allow our police force to act outside of the laws of the land as this just adds to crime. The family deserve to know what happened, why and if it was lawful. Until the court rules we can only speculate.

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Sickened 1 year, 4 months ago

I think we can all appreciate that your history follows you - forever. I still get teased about the dumb shit I did in primary school. Your character is what counts. The bad boys in the neighborhood growing up are still 'those bad boys' and the older generation will always keep an eye on them. IF this guy had a history with police then the police would certainly be suspicious of him every time they see him. Maybe he was eating food, maybe he was making a drug deal. I usually sway more to the police side cause most parents have no idea what their kids are up to. Police brutality kept me and many of my friends in line when we were teenagers. No one wanted to get driven to the pine barrens for a good ass kicking and then have to hitch a ride home.

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Dawes 1 year, 4 months ago

I don't disagree that his past would make the police suspicious of him. What i meant was his past should not be the justification of his shooting. The police have to act in a lawful way. If that was the case with this shooting then so be it.

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