The common-law wife of a man from Laventille, who was shot and killed by police along with four of his friends in 2018, has sued the State over his death.
In an assault and battery and misfeasance in public office case filed, late last week, lawyers representing Whitney Pearalal, the former common-law wife of Mechack Douglas, claimed that police officers used lethal force in a deliberate attempt to kill him.
“There was no legal justification for the use of force against Mechack,” Pearlal’s lawyers said, in the statement of case obtained by Guardian Media.
According to the documents, on October 25, 2018, Douglas, who would have turned 23 today, was listening to music and playing cards with a group of friends including Skadeem Francis, Shaundell St Clair, Kurt Williams, Nicholas Barker and Kadeem Phillip, behind one of their homes at Troumacaque Road in Laventille.
A group of officers from the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) entered the property and allegedly addressed Douglas directly before shooting him in his chest.
St Clair, who was 20-years-old at the time, allegedly attempted to run away but was caught by an officer, who beat him with a gun before shooting him.
Francis, Barker, Phillip, who were 15, 23, and 17, were also shot and killed.
Williams and others, who allegedly managed to run away and hide from police, survived.
Through the lawsuit, Pearalal is seeking damages for the distress Douglas would have suffered before his death as well as exemplary and vindicatory damages for the alleged police misconduct in the shooting.
Pearalal is also seeking a declaration that Douglas’ constitutional right to life and security was violated by the officers and $22,000 in special damages, which represents the costs incurred for his funeral and a private autopsy performed by Professor Hubert Daisley, who ruled that he had been shot at close range.
In late August, the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) issued a press release stating that its preliminary investigation into the shooting was completed and its report forwarded to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) for consideration.
While the PCA did not reveal additional details, it said, “Our investigation and recommendations should provide assurance to both the public and police that deaths or serious injuries that happen during or following police contact would be properly handled.”
Pearalal is being represented by Lee Merry, David Francis and Ajesh Sumessar.