THE State on Wednesday arrived at a settlement agreeing to pay $28M to Shonette Adams, the mother of Shaquille Grant, who was shot to death by police back in 2012.
The 17-year-old boy was on September 11, 2012, one among a group of young men who were allegedly “planning a robbery” and were pounced upon by a team of policemen, who fired shots at them; Grant was hit and subsequently died.
The distraught mother, represented by Attorney Nigel Hughes, filed a claim dated November 19th 2014, contending that on the said day, the deceased was negligently shot and killed by members of the Guyana Police Force, namely, Warren Blue, Jamal Lewis and Terrence Wallace, who were acting in their official capacities.
According to court documents seen by this newspaper, the plaintiff stated that the said police officers were not in any imminent danger at the time of the assault and killing of her son, and they wrongfully denied him of his constitutional right to life.
The matter was brought before Justice Gino Persaud and was heard on several occasions, where witnesses testified to substantiate the case; at several hearings, the state had no representative. However, Justice Persaud proceeded with the hearing of testimonies, as the witnesses had been attending court.
During the hearing, Amanda Williams Paddy was called to the witness box to testify. The young woman recalled the day of the incident, as she was a resident of a house alongside the shed where the shooting occurred.
Amanda said that she was in the kitchen preparing breakfast when she heard a gunshot. When she looked through the window, she saw a group of armed policemen clad in dark blue clothing. Upon seeing them, she ran to the bedroom to her daughter who was three years old and that time. While running to the bedroom, she heard another gunshot.
From the bedroom, Amanda said she could have seen the officers under the shed beside the house, through a crease in the wall. She saw them, along with five men lying face down under the shed and a police was standing over Grant.
“I heard the police saying, “you ain’t dead yet?” “You ain’t dead yet?” And Shaquille was crying out for his belly. I saw the police standing over Shaquille,” the young mother recalled.
Paddy added that she later saw the police dragging Grant to the police vehicle that was at the front of the yard. In addition to Paddy’s testimony, Nicholas Eastman took the court back to the day his friend died in his presence. He stated that they were hanging out in a yard at Third Street, Agricola, when they saw police officers wearing bulletproof jackets coming from the back of the yard, pointing their guns at them.
One of the officers told them to lie on the ground while two other officers proceeded to search them. Eastman said after the search was conducted they (police) tried to get his friend Romel Bollers from off the ground; Bollers resisted and a scuffle started.
“Thereafter, I heard a gunshot and I froze… I heard another explosion. I closed my eyes and I felt a warm feeling in my stomach. I opened my eyes and I saw blood between myself and Shaquille. Shaquille shouted ‘I get knock! I get knock!’” Eastman said.
He added that Shaquille tried to get up and a police officer went behind him and kicked him down, and said “you ain’t dead yet?” And shot him again.
Grant and Bollers were taken to the hospital where the former was pronounced dead and the latter injured. The remaining men were taken into custody and Eastman said they were released a few days after. He told the court that they were never charged, hadn’t any weapons or objects and never attacked any of the officers. “In fact, the officers never announced why they were there,” Eastman said.
The state did not present any argument in defence, but this newspaper was informed that the mother had agreed to the $28M settlement. Although the agreement was made between the parties, the court has not yet made record of the order.