The two officers involved in the chase and the subsequent shooting of Mannie James have reportedly been taken off frontline duty to undergo counselling.
This information was disclosed during this morning’s Cabinet press briefing by Superintendent Lesborne Michael from the Criminal Investigations Department (CID).
Michael was invited to the press conference to answer questions from reporters on the matter.
James, 45, who was shot by law enforcement personnel in Grays Farm on Monday night, was unarmed and at least one bullet entered through his back, according to police.
Police say James was fatally shot during a chase that began during a routine stop-and-search operation on Lauchland Benjamin Drive.
After the vehicle chase came to an end, eyewitnesses report that the man; a ski operator- attempted to evade lawmen on foot.
As part of their investigation, Michael confirmed that no firearms were found on the man or in his vehicle.
James and two passengers escaped during the chase, and their identities remain unknown, according to the Superintendent.
Michael said although James did not have a criminal record, he was known to the police.
In a press statement a day after the tragic incident, lawmen said around 9 pm on Monday, 31st July, the police and members of the Antigua and Barbuda Defence Force were in the area of Lauchland Benjamin Drive, conducting a joint stop-and-search operation.
While on the scene, they claimed a vehicle was spotted with three occupants inside “acting suspiciously”
The cops say they signaled the driver to stop; however, the vehicle turned around and sped away from the scene. A pursuit immediately ensued.
In their statement, the police claimed further that during the chase, several shots were fired at the police vehicle and the police returned fire.
It was further reported that two occupants alighted from the said vehicle and escaped on foot; one in the Otto’s area, and the other at Gray Hill. The chase ended at Grays Farm when the driver abandoned the vehicle and fled on foot.
The officers continue pursuing the assailant according to their claims and he [Mannie] was subsequently apprehended with what appeared to be a gunshot wound to his body.
He was transported to the Sir Lester Bird Medical Center and was later pronounced dead.
But eyewitnesses say James appeared to be unarmed as the shots were fired at his retreating back
Residents described Mannie as peaceful and hardworking; a man who toiled seven days a week to provide for his partner and their son and daughter.
A video widely circulated on social media shows a man being chased by uniformed officers. Another shows the man on the ground as officers appear to attempt to handcuff him. A third shows him unresponsive, being dragged along the ground, before being thrown unceremoniously into the open bed of a police pick-up.
James, a father of two, was in a longtime relationship with Mariesa Hixon who told reporters that she heard the commission on that dreadful night, “running inside her house in terror as the shots rang out”
Up until yesterday, Mannie’s children were not told that their father had died, although they witness the incident.
Meanwhile, the Police administration say they are saddened by the unfortunate outcome of the incident and expressed sympathy to the victim’s family.
The Commissioner of Police, Mr. Atlee Rodney appealed to the general public to continue cooperating with the police in the lawful execution of their duties, especially during these stop-and-search operations.