Police launch investigation into Johnson death

By Loshaun Dixon

The Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force (RSCNPF) has launched an investigation into the fatal accident that led to the death of Tau Johnson last Saturday. Johnson, 20, was killed when his motorcycle crashed on Wellington Road during a police chase.

According to a police release Saturday, Johnson was riding a motorcycle when officers on patrol attempted to stop him in the vicinity of College Street Ghuat. The officers got out of their vehicle and signalled for him to stop, but he did not. They returned to their vehicle and chased after him.

The police indicated Johnson continued fleeing the officers pursuing him and ran a red light at Baker’s Corner. While driving along Wellington Road, Johnson attempted to manoeuvre between vehicles, lost control of the motor cycle and fell.

Today, in a statement, police have indicated that the previous release was issued based on preliminary information, and was done purely to keep the public informed. “No conclusions have been made at this time,” the release stated. “As information is gathered and more is revealed, the police will be guided accordingly.”

They noted that they have found the concerns raised regarding this incident are very troubling. “As the institution charged with investigating criminal matters, we have initiated a high-level investigation into the incident, given the serious allegations regarding the police’s involvement.”

The police said they have put a number of things in place and have taken several steps to deal with the matter. “Such steps include, but are not limited to the following:

  • An investigation team has been put together headed by a senior-ranking police officer
  • A retired assistant commissioner of police with years of experience as an investigator has been engaged to provide advice
  • All closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras along the route will be carefully reviewed
  • The police vehicle involved in the chase has been grounded for forensic analysis purposes
  • An independent assessment of the motorcycle and the police vehicle involved in the chase will be conducted by a qualified mechanic and certified vehicle inspector
  • After consultation with the director of public prosecution, he has appointed a Crown counsel who would serve to advise the investigation team
  • An appeal has been made – and continues to be made – for any witnesses to the chase to contact the Traffic Department to give information

“The investigation team will follow every lead and examine every piece of information received and evidence collected,” the statement added.

This comes one day after family and friends of Johnson protested through Basseterre with a 30-minute stop outside of the Basseterre police station demanding transparency from the police relating to the matter.