Police constable exonerated in shooting death
Two years after 27-year-old Jamar Maynard bled to death after being shot by a police officer, the cop who pulled the trigger has been cleared of any criminal responsibility.
But Maynard’s family members and their lawyers, David Comissiong and Ajamu Boardi, have served notice that they will take the matter further to ensure the officer is made to answer for the shooting.
“We are committed to using all the legal channels available to us, to ensure that this happens. This, I can assure you, is not the end of this matter,” Comissiong declared after Coroner Manila Renee ruled that the shooting was lawfully done while the officer was executing his duties on
April 3, 2012.
Renee handed down her decision in the presence of the dead boy’s mother Deborah Maynard, his uncle Trevor Maynard who travelled from the United Kingdom for the decision, and the police constable himself.
Maynard was shot in the arm that night and died in the early hours of that morning as a result of massive blood loss.
Testimony led by police witnesses in the inquest indicated that Maynard, formerly of Denton Road, Grazettes, St Michaelwas shot by Constable Drakes who was on foot patrol with Constable Godwin Charles along Cheapside in The City.
They said Maynard was one of two men confronted and subdued by the officers. According to the evidence, Maynard subsequently pulled a gun and was shot by Drakes before running from the scene.
Renee ruled that Maynard contributed to his own death.
“It is not contested that Jamar fled the scene. It was his own action substantially, [that] led to his own demise. The medical practitioners were not negligent,” she said, adding that the doctors’ testimony, taken together with the evidence of the pathologist and the poor quality of other witnesses helped to lead her to that conclusion.
Even though the coroner assessed some police evidence as suspect, she considered the testimony of the civilian witnesses to be of a much poorer quality, particularly Carmi Williams who was with Maynard on the night of the incident.
After the ruling, Comissiong told reporters he would be pursing all legal avenues to ensure the police officer who killed Maynard has a case to answer for his actions.
“Having heard and considered all the evidence in this coroner’s inquest, we remain firmly of the view that the officer of the Royal Barbados Police Force who shot Jamar Maynard through the back of his left arm, causing him to bleed to death, should be required to defend and justify his actions, before a judge and jury at the criminal assizes,”
“We Barbadians must insist, that all persons who hold or wield power in our society, must be held accountable for how they use that power. No one is above the law.”
The deceased’s uncle, Trevor Maynard, who lives in the United Kingdom, also said he would do the same.
A visibly upset Deborah – the deceased’s mother – insisted that she would continue to fight because “I want justice for my son.”