Update into the Independent Investigation into RVIPF Police Shooting
Governor Augustus Jaspert
I wanted to update you 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 escaped prisoner Santo Yamarco Hernandez in early December.
I have now received the initial investigation report into the events of the operation to recapture of Mr Hernandez who regrettably died the following day due to injuries sustained.
As I am sure you will appreciate, there must now follow due procedural and legal processes to ensure that the findings of the investigation are correctly considered. This must take place before further information is publicly disclosed.
But I can assure you that both the RVIPF Commissioner of Police and I are committed to openness and transparency in this matter.
Despite the circumstances, a life was lost and Mr. Hernandez family is left to mourn this loss. We have a duty to ensure the circumstances are properly investigated, that Mr Hernandez’s family understands what happened and that any recommendations emanating from the report are adopted. As soon as it is legally and logistically possible, we will be releasing the general findings of this independent investigation.
Today, I wish to thank Commissioner James Smith of the Royal Turks and Caicos Police Force who willingly agreed to undertake the investigation and provide a complement of officers able to carry out the task.
Finally, I will say that I believe that all actions of officers in service to the public should always be open for evaluation and independent review in order to maintain the confidence of the public, particularly for law enforcement officers. We must be prepared to review our actions and have others do the same.