Another Dis­turbed Cit­i­zen Killed!

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By Toni Ni­cholas

For the third time in just over a year, lo­cal po­lice who were called to as­sist a fam­ily that in­cluded an out-of­con­trol mem­ber in­stead shot him to death. Widely de­scribed as of “un­sound mind,” 25-yearold Christo­pher Sev­er­ine of Bruceville, Vieux Fort had on Mon­day Novem­ber 10 given his rel­a­tives rea­son to call the po­lice.

Other sources close to Sev­er­ine’s fam­ily told re­porters the young man had gone into a state of de­pres­sion two years ago after he lost his job. The source claimed that when the po­lice ar­rived Sev­er­ine bran­dished a cut­lass but was quickly re­strained and the cut­lass taken away.

When he at­tempted to run away, an eye­wit­ness told the STAR, the of­fi­cers brought him down. A strug­gle en­sued and soon things turned very ugly. The wit­ness went on to say that while the po­lice claim a sin­gle shot was fired, the op­po­site is true: there was more than one shot.

Sev­er­ine died less than 12 hours later.

His sis­ter Kezia Sev­er­ine told re­porters on Mon­day that four po­lice of­fi­cers were in­volved and it was only when they at­tempted to hand­cuff her brother that he re­sisted. Her mother pleaded with the cops not to hurt her son. Ad­di­tion­ally, that this was not the first time the po­lice had been called to help sub­due Sev­er­ine.

They are now call­ing for the mat­ter to be in­ves­ti­gated, echo­ing the pleas of another Vieux Fort fam­ily.

On June 16 of­fi­cers at­tached to the Vieux Fort po­lice sta­tion were called to as­sist in trans­port­ing a La Re­source man named Si­mon Gabriel to hos­pi­tal. Po­lice later claimed the man at­tacked them with stones when they at­tempted to re­strain him, so they shot him dead.

The Sev­er­ine and the Gabriel fam­i­lies are not alone in their cries for jus­tice for their dearly de­parted. That list of mourn­ers in­cludes the fam­ily of Mandy Loui­son (another men­tal pa­tient) of Babon­neau who was also killed by po­lice last year. In any case, in­quests re­lated to such mat­ters usu­ally end pre­dictably: death by mis­ad­ven­ture.

This week health Min­is­ter Alv­ina Reynolds re­peated the same old lines, that it was clear that the po­lice needed more than just train­ing to deal with the men­tally ill; they also needed support.

The min­is­ter said health teams at the var­i­ous pri­mary health-care cen­tres would en­sure that po­lice have men­tal health pro­fes­sion­als whom they can call for support. She also claimed the for­mer UWP ad­min­is­tra­tion had dis­banded a re­lated pro­gramme and promised it would be re­in­stated by her gov­ern­ment. Another prom­ise des­tined to be for­got­ten un­til another men­tally dis­turbed cit­i­zen is cut down by po­lice bul­lets? Time will tell.

Cam­ron Lawrie, pres­i­dent of the Po­lice Wel­fare As­so­ci­a­tion this week ad­vised that po­lice should not be the first re­spon­dents in such cases, since they were not ap­pro­pri­ately equipped.

Rel­a­tives of Christo­pher Sev­er­ine are cry­ing out for jus­tice after he was fa­tally shot by po­lice Mon­day.

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