The Guyana Police Force is denying that accused cop killer Shaka Chase was ever tortured or beaten while in police custody.
In a statement issued on Monday evening, Police Public Relations Officer, Ivelaw Whittaker said “the Guyana Police Force strongly denies that Shaka Chase, who has been charged with the murder of the policeman, was assaulted or tortured in any way while in police custody into admitting that he had committed the crime as is being alleged by relatives”
According to the Police PR Division, on the same evening that Police Corporal Romain Cleto was shot dead, East Ruimveldt resident Shaka Chase visited the East Ruimveldt Police Outpost and told the Police that he had received information that the police wanted him for the murder of the policeman.
According to the Police, “at that time police investigators were still processing the scene and interviewing persons and had no information as to any suspect. However, Shaka Chase was interviewed and his hands were swabbed and he was released on bail.”
The Police statement added that more than two weeks after the gunning down of the policeman in the city, “on May 15, 2013, the police got a statement from an eye-witness who identified Shaka Chase as one of the persons in the motor car immediately before the shooting. The eye-witness also stated that Shaka Chase was known to the eye-witness for several years.”
The statement added that the laboratory report subsequently received also indicated that the swab from Shaka Chase’s hands was positive for gunpowder residue.
Attorneys for Shaka Chase have raised the issue of the “swab” results and have raised questions as to why the man was not arrested before and kept in custody if the test results did indeed come back as positive. The Guyana Police Force claims that Shaka Chase was rearrested the day after the new eyewitness provided the police with a statement naming Chase as one of the gunmen.
The Police release further stated that less than an hour after Shaka Chase was rearrested, he provided investigators with a detail confession and also provided information about the car that was reportedly used by the gunmen. The Police claim that they were able to make contact with the owner of the car and she confirmed that she had rented the car to Chase. This is the first time that the Police has revealed that it has seized any car in connection with the murder probe.
The Police Force is also denying that it refused to take statements from eyewitnesses who could confirm an alibi for Chase. Attorney Nigel Hughes and a number of persons were turned away from the headquarters of the Criminal Investigations Department on Sunday night when he took them there to provide the police with statements.
The Police statement said Attorney Nigel Hughes was asked to return to CID headquarters on Monday with the persons wishing to provide statements since no CID investigator was available at the CID headquarters at the time that he was there with the information and the witnesses.