The officer who pulled the trigger on a rifle which resulted in the death of 29-year-old Orin Boston of Dartmouth, Essequibo Coast in Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam) is under close arrest as the Office of Professional Responsibility conducts an investigation into the Guyana Police Force (GPF) mission that went wrong.
This revelation was made by senior officials of the Force during a virtual press conference today.
Police Commissioner (ag) Nigel Hoppie assured that a speedy, thorough investigation is underway into the circumstances of the operation which involved the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Unit.
When asked why the SWAT unit was involved, the Top Cop indicated that the operation was executed based on intelligence gathered, and that intelligence warranted the involvement of the SWAT team which was in the region since Tuesday.
The team comprised one gazetted officer and eleven ranks.
When asked if the officers breached any protocols during the operation, Hoppie said the investigation will make that determination. Additionally, he revealed that none of the officers were wearing body cameras.
It was reported that Boston, a businessman and father of two, was shot at around 04:00hrs today by the officers who went to his home during an anti-crime operation in the region. In an official statement, the police said there was a confrontation between the officers and the businessman, during which he was shot. Boston was reportedly shot to the upper left arm with a .223 caliber gun.
Pressed for more details on the operation, the senior officials disclosed that the operation started from 02:00hrs and the ranks visited a few houses prior to Boston’s. So far, they had already arrested four persons: two murder suspects and two persons for other offences.
According to the Police Commissioner, the officers were searching for “prohibited items”.
Asked whether any such prohibited items were found at Boston’s home, the Top Cop responded in the negative.
None of the senior officials at the press conference – which included Crime Chief Wendell Blanhum and Deputy Commissioner of Operations Clifton Hicken – provided a detailed account of the alleged confrontation between the officers and the businessman, and what led to the law enforcement officers opening fire.
Meanwhile, the Crime Chief noted that Boston was never prosecuted criminally by the police but he said a check is still ongoing at the criminal record office.
Following the fatal shooting, residents took to the streets in protest, blocking roads and burning tyres, demanding justice.
The Top Cop and Crime Chief visited the area where they interacted with residents and family members, assuring that a comprehensive probe will be conducted and that no stones will be left unturned.