STATEMENT BY HIS EXCELLENCY THE GOVERNOR AUGUSTUS J. U. JASPERT
ON THE INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION INTO
ROYAL VIRGIN ISLANDS POLICE FORCE – POLICE SHOOTING
20 SEPTEMBER, 2018
I previously indicated I would make public the report that can be appropriately put in to the public domain on the independent investigation undertaken by the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force into the actions taken by Officers of the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force Immediate Response Team during the apprehension of Santo Yamarco Hernandez in December 2017.
Mr Hernandez as we know regrettably died following the operation due to the injuries he sustained. The independent investigation by the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police has now concluded and they have provided a Summary Report and a Confidential Report. I am now sharing the Summary Report which was issued by the Royal Turks & Caicos Islands Commissioner of Police into the incident. It is not appropriate to publish the confidential report as it contains operational and personal details.
As you will see, investigators were tasked with undertaking a thorough review of the incident, to assess whether the force used by the RVIPF Officers was justified, necessary and proportionate and to provide recommendations for handling future incidents.
I am pleased that the investigators have found that the officers involved acted lawfully in carrying out their duties and were acting in defence of their lives and those of their colleagues.
Both the Summary Report plus the more detailed Confidential Report have now been submitted to the Director of Public Prosecutions and Her Majesty’s Coroner for their consideration. The DPP has since concluded that there are no criminal charges to be preferred in this matter.
However, the investigation found that there are lessons to be learned from this incident for the RVIPF in terms of both equipment, training and record keeping. The detailed recommendations are now being implemented by the RVIPF Commissioner of Police.
We must not forget though that a life has been lost and my sympathies go out to Mr Hernadez’s family.
I want to thank the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force for their work on this investigation. I conclude by also thanking our own Royal Virgin Islands Police Force. Police Officers have to make difficult decisions every day to protect our safety and security and I am grateful for their bravery and dedication to serving the public.