Gov: Officer death report will be public

An external review conducted into the death of a Royal Cayman Islands Police officer earlier this year will be released to the public, Governor Helen Kilpatrick’s office confirmed last week.

Bermudian police officers were called in by RCIPS Commissioner David Baines to probe the death of Police Constable Raphael Williams in January.

PC Williams was arrested on Thursday, Jan. 9 on suspicion of blackmail and breach of trust. He was released on bail the following day. Mr. Williams’s body was discovered on Jan. 12 in the Colliers area of East End.

An initial police investigation determined there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding his death.

“It is normal practice in the U.K., and in other jurisdictions, that such circumstances would be subject to independent review,” said Commissioner Baines.

A representative for Governor Kilpatrick’s office said last week that the release of the report will have to wait for the results of a coroner’s inquest into the death. The possible date for such a review was not clear at press time.

Commissioner investigation

Regarding another incident under police review, the governor’s office noted it expected a decision from the director of public prosecutions regarding the actions of Commissioner Baines in a New Year’s Day arrest outside a downtown jewelry store.

The off-duty commissioner, who was driving along North Church Street en route to meet friends coming off one of the cruise ships, came across a robbery in progress in the heart of downtown George Town. Three masked men had burst into a jewelry store just after 8 a.m. One held a gun to the head of the security guard while his accomplices smashed about 40 display cases and filled bags with up to $1 million worth of jewelry and watches, according to police.

As the men attempted to make their getaway, Commissioner Baines rammed their vehicle, preventing it from exiting the car park and then pursued them in his Chevrolet Trailblazer as they fled on foot.

Two of the suspects were pushed into a fence by the commissioner’s SUV. One of the two slipped under commissioner’s vehicle and suffered serious injuries.

“The use of force by any police officer has to be necessary, justified and proportionate, whatever the context and circumstances,” Mr. Baines said at the time. “I have assisted the investigating officers as fully as possible and will continue to do so until the [director of public prosecutions] has determined if my actions were warranted under the law or otherwise.”

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