Another Disturbed Citizen Killed!
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.