by Donella Hosten
A coroner’s inquest into the death of 28–year–old Kevon Downes is ongoing.
More than 1 year after the fatal shooting of Downes, who was said to be mentally unstable, investigations are now open to determine whether or not excessive force was used by the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF).
According to the pathologist’s report, Downes received 5 bullets – 2 to the face, 1 in the neck, 1 to his left chest and 1 in the upper left thigh. The shots, according to the report, were fired from close range.
Reports from the incident which took place on 20 April 2016, in the northern part of the island, stated that there may have been an exchange of gunfire between Downes and Police Officers who were called to the scene. This resulted in the death of Downes and Corporal Daniel Edgar.
Representing the Downes family at the Victoria Magistrate Court is Attorney-at-Law, Jerry Edwin. “The Police may tell us that it was in an exchange of gunfire that Mr Downes fell and was fatally wounded.” However, the findings of the pathologist call the shooting into question.
According to Edwin, Downes’ mother has already testified, along with the pathologist, and there are 20 other witnesses still to be brought to the stand, most of whom are police officers.
It is believed that Downes was on land that was not legally his, and was behaving in a somewhat violent manner. He was also carrying an illegal firearm, which created problems for the police officers at the scene. Edwin indicated that Downes was in fact legally entitled to the land.
The attorney said he is being assisted by former Chief Magistrate Henry Paryag. There is a 6-member jury for this case, and “if it is found that the shooting was justified, then it will be just that.”
The matter is expected to return to Court later on this month.