Police are being criticized after a Stop and Search operation last Friday resulted in a young man being shot to death By one of their own. At about 10:40 p.m. on February 12, police were conducting a routine vehicle Stop and Search operation in the Boyds/West Farm area when officers told Nkoma Jacobs, the driver of motorcar PA-1157, to pull over for the vehicle to be searched for drugs and guns. “The driver of motor car PA-1157 who was approaching the checkpoint that was established was ordered to stop when police suspected him of having in his possession illegal drugs, arms and ammunition. He refused to stop and someone fired a single shot from the car as they drove past the checkpoint,” a police press release stated. It went on to say that a police officer “returned a single shot” and the car lost control and collided with a wall on the northern side of the road. Two other males exited the car and ran but were captured By the police following a short chase. Police say that was when it was realized that 29-year-old Jacobs had sustained an injury to his head the Monkey Hill resident was transported to the hospital where he succumbed to his injury a few hours later on Saturday morning. News of the incident soon spread with some persons claiming the occupants of the car never fired at police and that Jacobs had sped off because he was driving without a license. Claims of excessive force on the part of the law enforcement personnel present during the incident were widely reported however police officials have given indications that the shooting was justified. Police Public Relations Officer Inspector Vaughan Henderson dismissed the talks of a ‘cover up’, saying there would be a full, fair and thorough investigation of the incident. He also informed that the law stipulates that a person, (police officer or civilian) can use equal force to defend themselves if their life is being threatened. “The Commissioner of Police has ordered a senior police officer to lead an investigation into the matter. There are procedures in place that outline the official course of action in such incidents. No one has jumped to any conclusion; that is why the investigation is being conducted, to ascertain the facts that will prove or refute misconduct on the part of the officer involved in the shooting. The outcome of said investigation will determine whether or not the shooting was justifiable.” Henderson informed that a 0.38 revolver with three round of ammunition and a quantity of vegetable material suspected to be cannabis were recovered from the scene By members of the security forces and taken into police custody. The Observer was reliably informed that the gun was recovered in the bushes near the car and the cannabis inside the vehicle. However, the PRO said he was not in a position to divulge such information. The two passengers that were detained during the incident were released from police custody without charge on Monday “pending investigation”. Although Inspector Henderson confirmed that it was an officer who fired the shot, he was not forthcoming when The Observer inquired as to whether the officer had been relieved of active duty pending the outcome of the investigation. A former police officer informed this media house that in officer related shootings it was not uncommon for a period of counseling or administrative leave to be recommended. Regarding the issue of police investigating police, Inspector Henderson said there should be no fear of partiality especially since in the past other law enforcement personnel had been prosecuted and sentenced to prison terms for offences.
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