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SRP shot by cops awarded $90,000

Friday, August 2, 2013

The State has been ordered to pay $90,300 to a footballer who was shot by the police while liming with his friends in Valencia five years ago. Although the police denied shooting Fabien Garcia, Justice Mira Dean-Armorer believed Garcia’s version of how he was shot on July 7, 2008, and ordered compensation. Garcia said he was happy with the outcome of the case, but found the court system to be too slow. “The waiting process is too long,” he said on Tuesday outside the court. 


Garcia, a former special reserve policeman, through his attorney Kevin Ratiram, had sued the Attorney General for assault and battery. In his affidavit, Garcia said around 2.30 am on the day in question, he was sitting with a group of friends on a culvert at Valencia Junction. At the time, he was a member of the WASA FC Football Club. He said they were liming not far from a club, opposite the Valencia Police Post, where they observed a few officers were standing. He said a party had just finished at the club and there were a lot of people around. “I heard a sound like a bottle break. I am unsure where the sound came from. All of a sudden, I heard two loud explosions and felt a sharp burning in my right leg and right elbow.”


He said other men dropped to the ground and he did likewise. “The explosions sounded like gunshots. I saw blood gushing out of my right leg and my right elbow was also bleeding. I realised that I had been shot.” One of his friends, Nicholas Joseph, also said he heard a sound like a bottle breaking. He saw three police officers in front of the police post. Joseph said he saw two “pull their guns from their waist and pointed them in the direction of my group.”  


The officer walked forward saying, “I heard explosions.” Joseph said he pulled one of his friends, Noel Riley, and they fell into a drain. Garcia was later treated at the Sangre Grande hospital. In his affidavit, PC Roy Campbell said he fired two rounds of ammunition into the air while ducking for cover after shots were fired at him and other officers. He said he never fired shots at Garcia or anyone else and could not have shot Garcia since his gun was pointing skywards.


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