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Jun 10, 2019

ComPol Admits to Liability in the Death of Nestor Vasquez Jr.

Chester Williams

Commissioner of Police Chester Williams has weighed in on the issue and admits that the department failed in safeguarding the rights of Nestor Vasquez.  While disciplinary action has been taken against four of officers, the incident is a black-eye on the department which has been exposed to liability.

 

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police

“As we have reported last week, the police department considered the actions of the police who were working the cell block, as well as that of the executive duty officer on duty at the time, to be an act of gross negligence in that they failed to ensure that these two prisoners who both have some mental disability were kept in the same cell detained. We have our protocols that govern the cell block area and from what the investigation is showing so far, there was a clear breach of our cell block protocol and so the officers who were on duty at that particular time have since been placed on disciplinary charges and have been interdicted from duty on half pay.  I want to say this though, that I think it is time that we begin to have a discussion over how the police is to treat and keep prisoners who suffer from some mental disability with a view to ensure that there is no recurrence of this incident.  And one of the things is, I have directed my finance officer as well as the commander of management service to do, is to see how we can prepare one of our cell blocks in such a way that we will be able to keep prisoners who suffer from mental disabilities, in such a way that they would not be able to cause serious injuries to themselves or others.  I have my own legal opinion, but I am not the D.P.P.  We will act on the advice of the D.P.P., she is the one who advises us on criminal matters and so the file will be sent to her and whatever directive she gives will be complied with by the police.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“As a department, how do you face liability in a case such as this where the officers should have been more diligent in the conduct of their duty and of course perhaps whatever protocols are in place that should have been followed?  How do you now look at your men and women and say, look, we fell short of being able to maintain this individual’s physical and constitutional rights while he was in detention?”

 

Chester Williams

“Well, my thing Isani is that honestly I am disgusted by what happened.  I always say that we must do things in such a way that we avoid liability and as an attorney myself, I can see a lawsuit and if it is that the Vasquez family should decide to sue, my advice would be to get it over with.  There is no need to prolong the matter, the police messed up and we must pay.”


Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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